It comes from the city of Messina in Sicily (Italy).
- 2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups peanut oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tbs. pine nuts
- 1 tbs. colored candied confetti
- 1/2 cup sugar
Place 1 cup of flour on a board and break in the eggs; add salt; knead together gently. Gradually add enough flour to make medium soft, easily molded dough. Texture becomes soft with kneading. When very smooth, cut in half.
Roll out dough in circular piece about 1/4 inches thick on lightly floured board. Cut into strips about 1/4 inches wide. Mold each strip gently to resemble a small rope about 1/4 inches. Each bit of dough resembles a grape or small marble. Distribute on lightly floured board to prevent sticking.
Heat oil in deep saucepan. When very hot, gradually add small pieces (about 6 tablespoons at a time), stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Brown lightly for 1 or 2 minutes; remove with perforated spoon. Drain on absorbent paper.
Blend sugar and honey in a deep skillet; stir constantly. Heat about 5 minutes over low flame. When very smooth, add all browned pieces, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. When covered with the honey mixture, remove quickly; place on 2 large platters. Mold with spoon into desired forms (as bunches of grapes or small clusters). Top each form with pine nuts; sprinkle with colored confetti. Allow to cool.
Serve by breaking off individual pieces with cake fork. Pignolata keeps fresh for 2 weeks when placed in a air-tight container. Serves 8 to 10.
Hope this helps!
About my family origin... I am actually from central Italy (born there) and the recipe was given to me by a friend. In Italy recipes are so local that each town has its own and sometimes, within that town, different families have different versions. Everything gets passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter and on and on... There are recipe books, of course, but people are attached to traditions and will argue about the inclusion of one ingredient in a specific recipe. I have witnessed so many discussion about what is "right" and what is not in a recipe... of course there are no winners because there are so many variations!
Anyway, I hope you will enjoy the pignolata. And if you would like to see how it is actually made, you may want to watch this video on YouTube that will show you each step:
Of course, since I am not from Sicily, I can not say if that video shows "the" way Pignolata is made in Sicily... but, oh well... remember there are infinite variations, so... enjoy!
Last thing: As you might guess from the screen name, Ireaditalian works with the Italian language, and has a website dedicated to helping people who want to raise their children speaking English and Italian.