Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CICERCHIATA or as I call it "CICIRICCHIATA"

What Carnevale without cicerchiata?  No way.

All photo Copyright - ©2011 - La Casa e Il Giardino - picasaweb

This family recipe is close to my heart.   In fact, as a child, ciciricchiata was one of my favorite sweets and I did not understand the reason why I was able to eat it just during the time of Carnevale. Question of traditions!

The cicerchiata is a sweet made of almonds, honey and eggs and every region has its own more or less traditional variation.

Ingredients:  For 8 to 10 people

2 pounds flour
5 eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons of sugar for dough
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 cups of vegetable oil for frying

Coating
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest of one lemon

Put the flour into a mound on a clean counter or bread board. Make a well in the center, and put the sugar, eggs, oil and baking powder  into this well.  Using a fork, begin to mix everything together by pulling the flour slowly into the egg mixture. Once everything is well mixed, form the dough into rolls, about the width of your thumb. Cut each roll into 1 inch pieces. Fry the struffoli in oil heated to 375 degrees F. until golden and puffed. Drain on paper towels
In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough, almonds and lemon zest and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

Spray the outside of a small water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a large spoon or damp hands, arrange the struffoli and almonds around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle any remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles (optional).