Struffoli: a Christmas treat from Naples

Dec 14, 2021 501

BY: Michela Becchi

Among the most famous Christmas desserts, born in Campania but now appreciated and enjoyed throughout the country, struffoli have their roots in ancient times, even if their origins are uncertain. According to many, struffoli derive from the Greek strongoulos – hence the name – meaning “rounded,” while others believe that Neapolitan pastry chefs were inspired by a Spanish dessert, the piñonate, balls of dough similar to struffoli but with a more elongated shape.

Then there are those who instead believe that the origin of everything is the term ‘to rub,’ (in Italian, strofinare) referring to the gesture that is performed during the preparation of this dessert. In any case, one detail is certain: it was the convents that spread the recipe, thanks to the manual skill of the nuns who made struffoli and donated them every year at Christmas to families who had distinguished themselves for acts of charity.

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