Well, I've been vegan for ten years, and my mom finally made me vegan struffoli! For those of you who don't know, struffoli is an Italian dessert that you typically see around the holidays. Basically, it's a pile of small balls of fried dough drizzled with honey and sprinkles (some people add almonds and those nasty fruit bits you find in fruitcake). It's simple, but inexplicably delicious. And now, a vegan version! (1/1/13 updates listed below)
Big shout out to VegWeb, where my vegetarian mom found the recipe by googling "vegan struffoli" (yeah, she's crafty like that). And a special thanks to Megan Rascal's mom (Megan Rascal of Vegansaurus) for being another great mom to a vegan and admirably fulfilling her duties as such with pride, glee, and pink food coloring.
This is my condensed & slightly simplified version of the VegWeb recipe; I won't be offended if you just go ahead and ignore mine for the original:
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice (
optional use it)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (
optional use it)
2 1/2 cups flour (plus extra for your hands during dough prep)
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
about 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
sprinkles (MUST be non-pareils. I don't know why, it just does!)
1) Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl.
2) Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3) Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients (don't stir too vigorously) .
4) When it starts to look like actual dough, generously brush some flour on your hands and use them for the final mixing.
5) Liberally sprinkle your hands with flour as you take a cookie size handful of dough, roll it into a ball, roll the ball into little gum-cigar sized logs, and the slice your logs into blueberry size pieces (I know they'll be a big rectangular). Repeat until you've turned your lump of dough into a heaping pile of tiny doughballs.
6) In a medium pot (to minimize oil splatter), pour about an inch of oil so that the balls are floating while they cook; add as needed. When the oil is
piping medium hot, start dropping in your balls a few at a time. If the oil is too hot, the balls will cook faster than you can scoop them out. Cook only a couple at a time until you find the temperature that allows you to drop in the dough, wait a few seconds, flip, and remove; your goal is a light tan color.
7) The balls will cook very quickly; you'll want to turn them as soon as the bottom tans & then remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as both sides are tan. See above.
8) Pile them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil and eat plenty while they're hot because they'll taste like yummy mini-donut holes.
9) Prepare by filling containers with the balls and then drizzling liberally with your agave/brown rice syrup mixture.
10)Douse with sprinkles and enjoy!
I'd also recommend that you make this recipe with a loved one for two reasons:
- It really is helpful for one person to concentrate on frying while the other prepares the dough balls.
- They won't judge you for experimenting during the preparation by frying up dough-coated Late July cookies and making fresh jelly donuts*.
*You might want to double the recipe if you're going to be sampling as much as we did.