by rebecca deangelis

Friuli is best known for its wine, but the dolci there are like nowhere else: sweet breads filled with nuts and fruit, classic sacher-tortes, dobos cakes, and puff pastry galore! Then there were these little gems I found called strucchi. A sweet crumbly dough filled with pine nuts, hazelnuts, and grappa-soaked currants and raisins. The beauty of this bite-sized confection is its versatility. Bake it, boil it, or fry it (my favorite option). Serve with powdered sugar or a scoop of gelato.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and orange zest. Using either a standing mixer or a wooden spoon, incorporate the cold cubed butter until the cubes become pea-sized balls.


In another bowl, mix the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and heavy cream. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over-mix the dough or it will become tough to roll (and less tender when eaten). Wrap the dough with plastic and chill for a few hours before forming your strucchi.


While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the nuts until just golden brown. Remove from the heat and let the cool. In a bowl, combine the nuts, currants, golden raisins, and orange zest. Add grappa to cover and let soak for an hour.


Roll out your chilled dough with just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface. Roll to about ¼-inch thick then cut into circles about two inches in diameter.


Drain your filling. Place a small spoonful inside each dough circle. (Too much and you’ll tear the dough.) Fold and pinch together like ravioli to create half moons.


In a fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat canola oil to 345F. Gently drop strucchi in the oil, and allow to bubble until they turn a rich golden brown, about five minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to cool. Cover in powdered sugar and serve with espresso.