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Mama's Sicilians Pignolata Recipe

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This recipe for Mama's Sicilians Pignolata, by , is from Our Family! An Expanded Multi Cultural Cooking Experience, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Ralph Carnesecchi
Added: Sunday, August 12, 2007


8 Aluminum 3x5 baking dishes.
10 c. Approximate, vegetable oil.
4 c. Dry measure flour.
2 Pinches of salt.
6 Approximate, medium sized eggs.
80 oz. Golden brown or dark honey or Orange Blossom Honey.
2 c. Extra fine granulated sugar.
2 lbs. Roaster whole almonds
2 T. Cinnamon.
4 T. Ground orange peel.
4 T. Multi colored cake decorating sprinklers.
2 T. Almond Extract.
3 T. Grand Marnier Liquor.
1 Electric deep fryer.

Roast Almonds:
In a frying pan or in oven at 370 degrees, roast almonds until start to brown and aroma is coming out. Lightly chop almonds and place aside.

Make Dough:
Combine flour, eggs mixed with almond extract, cinnamon, and salt and kneed dough in usual fashion. Can be made three days in advance...plastic wrap cover and refrigerator. Let dough rest for 1/2 hour. Dough should be room temp.

Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.

Cut dough into 3" X 1" wedges and roll into ball.

Roll out each wedge so as to make long strips of dough which are about 1/2 " thick.

Cut elongated strip into diagonal wedges that are about 1/4 to 3/8 inches in size and put aside. repeat for all pieces. Put flour around cut pieces to keep from sticking together.

Bring vegetable oil to a slow boil at about 370 degrees.

Put in 1 c. of dough wedges in oil at same time and repeat till all dough is cooked.

Cook until golden brown.

Drain wedges on paper towels and set aside.

Making Final Loaf:

Place honey in large electric deep fryer.

Make sure honey is at least 3 inches deep in pot and that there is at least 6 inches above the honey level in the pot....allows for boiling over.

Cook honey in low heat about 200 degrees or just when honey starts to show a simmer boil, for 10 minutes, then slowly add sugar.

Stir frequently and bring honey/sugar mix to a slow simmer. Watch out....will start to boil over. Lower heat when that happens and then bring back heat when boiling stops. This is the most critical and time consuming part, but it's worth it!

Let honey/sugar mix simmer for at least one hour or when mixture gets real thick.

During last 5 minutes of cooking, add ground orange peel and grand marnier to mixture.

Combine cooked dough wedges with toasted whole almonds....2/3 dough and 1/3 almonds, enough to fill aluminum trays.

Place almonds and dough wedges into honey/ sugar mixture and cook for 1 minute. Make sure mixture covers all dough and almonds. WATCH Out, this is when it may start to boil over.

Using a slotted spoon or basket , let honey almond/dough mixture drain, fill each aluminum try. MAKE SURE IT DRAINS WELL BEFORE PLACING IN TRAY, otherwise you will have thick honey slab on bottom. Also make sure you spoon up 2/3 dough and 1/3 almonds for each tray...takes time to master this mix.

Place cake decorations on top of each tray while honey is still hot.

Place each try in refrigerator. for at least 3 hours.
Ready to eat or mail to Ralph and Pip.

Keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks... plastic covered!


Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
8 3x5 sized containers
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
4 Hours
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
All quantities of ingredients are appox....it is never the same.

This is a recipe used by my mother, with modifications made by her number one son..Ralph.

In the old days mom never wrote down the ingredients or quantity. It was always..." a little of this and a little of that." After searching numerous Sicilian cook books I borrowed recipes that looked like what mom made every Christmas and Easter.

Pignolata is often identified as Pagnuccata, pignocata, pagnolata...in the USA it is often called struffoli, but made with out the almonds.

Enjoy and pass this receipt on to your children. It's the real thing and represents our culture and the fond memories of Mom during the holidays.




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