I woke early this morning to receive a furniture delivery for my neighbors, who are back in the states for the holidays. Apparently I didn’t get up early enough, because the one time in the world that an Italian is not only on time, but early, happened today! When we lived in Spain deliveries, meals, guests or anything that you wanted on some sort of schedule would be scheduled with a time, but not a day. So be home at 10am every day until it is convenient for them to deliver/appear! This too happens in Italy, although typically you get the day you’re looking for, but things run at a slower pace. I have to remember that a break for espresso, three to ten times per day, is typical for Italians. I am serious. 3-10 espresso a day. However these guys must have stopped for their fix early because I didn’t even get my hair brushed and the shutters open before our buzzer rang at 745am! Oh well, up and at ’em.
After all of the hard work and heavy lifting (not done by me) was done, it was time to straighten up the house for my landlords visit! If you read my last post, Carmella, my 75 year old land lady was making Struffoli. I had no idea what this was, but she was going to bring some by, have a cafe and chit chat for a bit. I wanted to make sure I was providing the classic Italian customs when people arrive at your house, which is to feed people and make them espresso or cafe Napoletana. So I got a pan of Blueberry Muffins in the oven and just as I thought I had 30 minutes before they would arrive, what happens for the second time today? My buzzer rings and my guests are early! Really?! I have zero make-up on and my hair is… well brushed at best. But I know they don’t really care. And they didn’t, just arrived with sweet smiles, Champagne, that I sadly cannot partake in for a while longer and the Strufoli, in hand.
I didn’t know what to expect with the Struffoli, I saw her making the pasta by hand a couple days ago, so I assumed something soft and savory. You know where assuming get you, don’t you? No where. That’s where. I was completely off. It turns out that it is a deep fried pasta, crunchy on the outside, and soft in the middle, coated with honey and orange juice & zest. This is apparently a classic Italian holiday treat. With coffee on the stove and muffins ready to be devoured we had a lovely, albeit short visit as they had to go to their sons house to watch their granddaughter. The muffins, by the way were delish. The Stuffoli… a little sweet for me, but greatly appreciated!
I steal most of my baking recipes from Deb Pearlman’s Smitten Kitchen website and cookbook. If you don’t have her book, get on it! Everything is so amazing, not Paleo, but amazing. I tweak things as I like them and these babies turned out perfect! Enjoy.
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter (I use salted and omit additional salt below)
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
- Finely grated zest from 1/2 a lemon (I love lemon, so I zested the whole thing, and some orange)
- 3/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream (I prefer Yogurt)
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt (Prefer to steer clean of table salt, I use Himalayan)
- 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar (I used Coconut Sugar)
How to Make
Preheat your over to 350F° or 175C°
Prep your muffin tin with paper cups or non-stick spray
Melt the butter, add to bowl. Combine butter, Sugar, Lemon & Orange Zest, Yogurt and Egg. Mix until smooth.
Add in Baking powder and baking soda (and Salt if using). Mix until well combined.
Fold in Blueberries and Flour 1/2cup at a time. The texture is like a cookie dough when ready.
Fill the muffin tins, top each with 1/2tsp of coconut sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool and devour. Perfect Saturday morning treat with your cafe.