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Pignoccata - a delicious Sicilian dessert made up of fried dough balls in honey. It is traditionally made in Palermo for Carnevale.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Manuela Zangara


  • 500 gms – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 200 gms – 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange grated
  • 100 gms – 1/3 cup honey
  • 50 ml – ¼ cup water
  • 100 gms – ¾ cup almonds toasted and crushed
  • Coloured sprinkles
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, put the flour, eggs, orange zest and half the sugar. Knead well. Make it into a ball and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into balls. Roll each ball of dough using your fingertips into ropes about 5 mm (less than ¼ inch) thick. Then cut the ropes of dough into 5 mm (less than ¼ inch) pieces. Remember, the smaller you cut them the crunchier they will be at the end!
  3. Deep fry the little pieces of dough in hot vegetable oil (at 180°C – 355°F for the best result).
  4. When golden on all sides, remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the syrup. Put the remaining sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and melt it over the fire. Keep aside.
  6. When all the dough has been fried, add it to the syrup and mix well.
  7. Pour it on a plate and give it the shape of a pine-cone (you can make a big one, or many smaller/individual ones). Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and sprinkles.
  8. Let it cool down and serve.