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Giada Shares How to Make One of Italy's Most Classic Holiday Desserts - Kitchen Heroes

From The Kitchn - December 4, 2017

The holidays bring out the best in desserts. There's nothing like a giant pile of elaborately decorated sweets to make a person feel festive, and Giada De Laurentiis has a gorgeous take on a traditional Italian Christmas dessert called a struffoli. It's impressive and fun, but it's surprisingly easy and a great thing to make together with family.

A struffoli is a big pile of honey-coated pastry balls that are sweet on the outside and soft on the insides. It looks a lot like a French croquembouche, but the balls are the size of marbles. They are served all over Italy around Christmastime, and Giada says she's been making them every year for Christmas Eve dinner with her aunt for as long as she can remember. Now her daughter, Jade, helps, and they are passing the tradition onto a new generation.

"More than any other dish, sweet or savory, preparing the dessert known as struffoli tells me Christmas is truly here," De Laurentiis writes. "Like a French croquembouche or a Norwegian ring cake, it's an impressive-looking sweet that is really festive and fun to make."

Giada's struffoli looks stunning and festive, but it's surprisingly easy to make. She starts by making tons of tiny balls of fried dough. Each ball starts out about half an inch in diameter, and they puff up when cooked.

If you do not like to fry things, Giada says this works just as well with baked balls. Just pipe out tiny balls of choux pastry onto a lined baking sheet and cook them like tiny cream puffs.

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