A Christmas Tradition

Many years ago, when the Amendola family lived on Wooster Street, Grandma Carolina Amendola would get together with her friend, Mrs. Bigio, and make struffoli for the Christmas holiday. This involved both families. The mothers were in charge of making the dough and frying it while all the children rolled out the ropes and cut the pieces of struffoli to be fried. Later on Grandma continued the tradition with Aunt Lucy. Aunt Lucy then continued the tradition with Uncle Frank who helped Aunt Lucy up to a point, then he would leave when it was time to clean up and go down to the club. When Aunt Theresa came to live on St. John Street, she helped Aunt Lucy. When Aunt Lucy passed on, Beverly helped, then Louie, then me (Carolyn) and this year Aunt Theresa's friend, Camille, Aunt Carol and even Uncle Lou came from Florida to help. Grandma did not have a recipe she worked with so the recipe below was put together by Aunt Lucy. Enjoy!

Struffoli Recipe

From Lucy Amendola

6 cups of flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 jigger of gin or vodka
6 eggs

Combine dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour and add eggs one at a time. Work dough until smooth and satiny.
Dough should be hard enough to roll into ropes. Make ropes and cut struffoli small (about the size of your baby fingernail.
Fry in vegetable oil. Be sure you have plenty of oil. Drain on paper towels, put in large paper bag.

Honey Dip
Orange peel
Lemon Peel
Liquor - Cointreau - Orange Liquor

Uncle Louie wrote the captions to these pictures!
Bev, rolling/cutting, while sister Theresa watches the struffoli balls cooking in hot oil, thinking when will it end
Chef Lou and Louis Jr. rolling the dough into long ropes before cutting into 1/4 inch pieces. Aunt Theresa cooking the struffoli in hot cooking oil which is a hard, slow job. Aunt Theresa thinking I hope this is the last batch!
Camille, Aunt Carol, and Chef (Uncle) Lou cutting the long ropes into 1/4 inch pieces. Note the fine work being done!
Aunt Theresa displaying the bag that is not even half full yet. It will take a long time to fill it!
Chef Lou cooling the cooked struffoli in the colander. Boy what skill he has!
Chef Lou taking over the job of cooking the struffoli in hot oil, making sure they are done right!
Camille and Aunt Carol doing the cutting of long ropes. They are too busy to look up.
Louis, Jr. rolling the pliable dough into long ropes.
Louis cutting the ropes into /4 inch pieces and rolling them into small balls.
After 5 hours of working, the struffoli team seems to be slowing down!
Aunt Theresa is showing the team that we still have a long way to go in order to fill up the bag.
Here is the dish of struffoli before frying in the hot oil. No, you can't eat them yet!

Getting the round/square containers ready before filling. There are 20 containers to be filled. Uncle Louie is hoping he will take one that has struffoli in it instead of an empty container.

Aunt Carol and Uncle Lou pouring the honey into the pans. A slow job with many onlookers. Who is going to empty out their honey first.
Aunt Carol heating up the honey mixture. She always gets the easy job! Uncle Lou is doing the work while everyone is watching him. Boy, is he not great!
Uncle Lou with Aunt Theresa. getting into the act. She is trying to show him how to do it. That will be the day! Uncle Lou and Aunt Carol mixing the struffoli with honey. This is hard work!
Uncle Lou is reviewing the final creation. A job well done! Thank God!. Uncle Lou came to New Haven from Orlando to oversee this job. The final product (Christmas Struffoli). It was a long day. We worked from 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. The night before, the dough took two hours to prepare. Six batches of struffoli were prepared. Let's see, if we sold them at $15 a can we would have made $300. Splitting it 7 ways would be about $21 each. I think we would need to increase the cost to cover labor and the cost of the ingredients.