500 gmplain flour, plus extra for dusting 5eggs60 gmcaster sugar100 mlolive oilFor deep-frying:sunflower oilHoney syrup350 gmhoney, preferably wildflower100 gmnatural almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped2lemons, finely grated rind only1 tspfinely ground cinnamon
Place flour on a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add eggs, sugar and olive oil and mix in flour from sides with a fork until a dough forms, then knead by hand until dough is elastic (4-5 minutes). Alternatively, mix dough in food processor. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat sunflower oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 175C. Divide dough into five pieces. Working with one piece at a time, and keeping remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap, roll out to 1cm thick, cut into 1cm-wide strips. Roll each strip by hand to form a 1cm-diameter log. Cut each log into 1cm pieces, transfer to a lightly floured tray. Sprinkle with extra flour, repeat with remaining dough.
Deep-fry dough in batches until golden (3-5 minutes). Remove with a metal slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper, repeat with remaining dough.
Meanwhile, for honey syrup, bring honey to the boil in a large saucepan, simmer over low heat until fragrant (5 minutes; be careful not to burn honey). Remove from heat, add almonds, lemon rind and cinnamon, stir through dough balls, then spoon mixture into a lightly oiled 3-litre-capacity heatproof wreath mould (see note). Press down with a wet spoon. Set overnight in refrigerator, then turn cicerchiata out on a platter and serve. Cicerchiata will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days.
Note Alternatively, you can use an oiled stainless-steel bowl
with an oiled upturned glass in the centre.