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5 from 5 votes

Sicilian Pignolata-Italian Honey Balls

Fried balls of dough dipped in honey and topped with sprinkles made in Italy during the carnevale and also the holidays, or just for any special occasion.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Fried Dough
Servings: 30
Author: Lora


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour extra may be needed



To make the dough

  • In the bowl of a large mixer, beat eggs sugar, salt and oil.
  • Sift the flour into the mix and beat on medium speed with a dough hook until you obtain a soft dough. Add more flour as needed a little at a time if the dough is too sticky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it is smooth.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll into ropes (about ½ inch thick). Cut each rope into ½ inch pieces and roll the pieces in your hands (like you’re making meatballs) into little balls.
  • Toss a little bit of flour on the dough balls so they don’t stick while you roll the other pieces.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F.
  • Carefully add about 6 pieces of dough at a time and fry until they are evenly browned (about 3 minutes).
  • Remove the dough pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat process until you fry all the pieces of dough.

To make the syrup

  • In a large skillet, bring the sugar, water and orange zest to a boil. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  • Whisk in the honey; reduce the heat to medium-high.
  • Add the balls and stir to coat them evenly with the honey syrup. Cook for about 5 minutes until they obtain a nice glaze.
  • Immediately place them on serving plate stacking them like a pinecone. Use caution as they are very hot.
  • Toss on the sprinkles.