A couple of weekends ago I saw Giada De Laurentiis make Struffoli on her Holiday show and the dish looked perfect for the Holidays. I have to make this dessert!
Struffoli is made with balls of fried dough and hazelnuts. The dough and hazelnuts are tossed in a honey sugar mixture, shaped into a wreath, and cooled to keep its' shape. The goal of the recipe is to fry the dough until the color of the dough matches the color of the toasted hazelnuts. Sounds easy right?
My first goal is to peel and toast hazelnuts...
I perused the internet a bit because the thought of peeling 1 1/2 cups of hazelnuts was unappealing. I stumbled across Joe Pastry's Blog and found an informative post about Peeling Hazelnuts.
Joe bakes the hazelnuts for 1/2 hour at 250˚F and then wraps the still hot hazelnuts in a kitchen towel.
The hot hazelnuts create steam in the kitchen towel pocket, which loosens the skins.
Unwrap the towel so that there is one layer below and above the hazelnuts and apply firm pressure while rolling the hazelnuts back and forth.
Not all of the hazelnut skin will come off, so plan ahead and use extra hazelnuts. Eat the hazelnuts with the skin still on as a snack and use the hazelnuts without skin in your recipe.