Desserts are without doubt the main protagonist on the Christmas dinner table in the Sorrento coast, which remind us all the sweetness and kindness of mothers and grandmothers and bring back memories of joy and cheerfulness of when we were kids.
Every Italian region has its own Christmas pastry, and since everyone feels a stronger sense of belonging to their roots sometimes this distinction may surpass the regional level and characterize the single province or city. A common dessert in all the South of Italy and a must have in all the windows of pastry shops and bars are the Struffoli, crumbly fried balls of dough covered in honey and dragées, either in the sumptuous family-sized dome version or the irresistible single serving one to taste while on the street. Other desserts of the Neapolitan tradition include the Mustacciuoli, diamond shaped cakes covered in chocolate icing, the Susammielli, with their characteristic “S” shape and kneaded with honey and the Roccocò, extremely hard doughnut-shaped biscuits scented with citrus fruits. A typical dessert of the Sorrento peninsula are the Zeppole, fried ring-shaped dough with a scent of anise, flavoured with honey and decorated with dragées and orange peel. It is a “poor” dessert that has flour and water as basic ingredients. It is not difficult for those who want to try, even if the experience makes the difference. The same amounts of water and flour are used, no sugar because honey is used and a pinch of salt. The water must be brought to a boil and the flour is slowly poured and mixed until the dough separated from the pan. Then, on a slightly greased working bench, the dough is made into small sausages and then closed into a doughnut shape. At this point they need to be fried. For the dressing the honey needs to be heated with some anise and the orange peel and then poured onto the Zeppole. As a final touch, a sprinkle of “diavulilli”, small coloured dragées, which make everything even more appetizing!