Vitos Bakery Ave U Sheepshead Bay Ave U

Photo by Laura Fernandez

Welcome to The Bite, Sheepshead Bites weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we’ll be exploring a different food item from one of the many culturally diverse restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers of our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

Readers, it’s time we put some Italian honey balls in our mouths. And, of course, we’re talking about struffoli from Vito’s  Bakery & Grocery on Avenue U.

I was first introduced to struffoli by a little Italian grandmother soon after I moved to Sheepshead Bay over 20 years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Nona moved away years ago, taking her recipe with her, but I was lucky enough to discover Vito’s Bakery. Struffoli just like grandma used to make.

What is struffoli? Struffoli are small balls of fried dough and various candied fruits drenched in honey. In the United States, they are often topped with sprinkles and sometimes nuts. The fried dough balls are typically the size of marbles, crunchy on the outside and soft and light in the middle. They are an instant sugar rush!

Legend has it that struffoli originated in Naples, first made by nuns and given to the local aristocracy each Christmas to thank “the richies” for their charitable works during the year. Greeks and Romans have some claims to struffoli as well, with the Greeks contributing to the name. The Greek word “strongulous” means “round in shape.” And the Romans have adapted the recipe into their own version, stuffing the dough balls with candied fruits and chopped almonds.

True Neapolitan struffoli is available each Christmas and Easter season in Italian bakeries all over Brooklyn, but some of the best are found right here in Sheepshead Bay at Vito’s Bakery.

But you have to move fast! Struffoli is only available for a limited time. $9.00 buys you enough to feed a party; $14.00 enough to feed the neighborhood.

Vito’s Bakery & Grocery, 1916 Avenue U, (718) 332-3577.

Vito Bakery on Urbanspoon

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  • Ravenscout

    Thanks Ned . Love!!!! Struffoli

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      Thank Robert Fernandez, the writer of The Bite.

      • Georgia

        Thanks Robert and Ned my favorite Struffoli I could eat a whole small tray lol

  • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

    So…basically they are Dunkin Donuts Munchkins :-p

    • Anonymous

      philistine

      • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

        That’s what they look like! Are the ingredients much different? Sure
        the Italian homemade ones prolly taste better…..

        • Anonymous

          Fried dough – drenched in honey. Nothing like a Dunkin Munchkin

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Exactly. They’re totally different. Even the texture.

            Munchkins don’t have a hard crust.

    • Barkingspider7

      No – munchkins are soft. the struffoli is fried yeast dough, but crispy

  • BrooklynGirl

    Mmm, they look delicious!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    I go through withdrawal when they stop baking it.

    • Georgia

      LOL I don’t blame you. Same here

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  • Skn0911

    i love them im surprised im not fat!!!

  • Skn0911

    i love them im surprised im not fat there cookies are great !!!! :)

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