“This Abruzzo dessert is eaten during carnival time. A wreath of fried sweet dough balls is stuck together with a honey syrup. It’s brought to the table, cut and shared.” You’ll need to start this recipe a day ahead.
- 500 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5 eggs
- 60 gm caster sugar
- 100 ml olive oil
- For deep-frying: sunflower oil
- 350 gm honey, preferably wildflower
- 100 gm natural almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 lemons, finely grated rind only
- 1 tsp finely ground cinnamon
- 1Place 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.
- 2Preheat 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.
- 3Deep-fry dough in batches until golden (3-5 minutes). Remove with a metal slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper, repeat with remaining dough.
- 4Meanwhile, 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.
Drink Suggestion: Low-alcohol and slightly fizzy Moscato d’Asti. Drink suggestion by Glen Davis