This very sticky, honey-smothered cake, which consists of little fried balls of dough stuck together, is made in Abruzzi and Molise to such an extent that many cooks of those regions claim that it actually belongs to them! This is, however, untrue, but then good ideas always travel far and wide - or at least they do when they are about food.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the olive oil, liqueur and lemon rind. Blend in as much flour as necessary to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead it with your hands, then divide it up and roll it out into pencil-sized sticks. Cut the sticks into
Heat the oil for deep-frying until a piece of bread dropped into it sizzles instantly. Fry all the dough pellets in the oil until crisp and brown, then remove and drain on kitchen paper until required.
Melt the honey in a large saucepan until dark-coloured and completely liquid. Test whether it is ready by putting one drop into a glass of cold water: if it hardens, it is ready to use. Put the fried dough pellets and the almonds and glacé cherries into the honey and stir thoroughly with a large spoon. Turn this mixture out on to a marble work-surface or large china platter and shape it into a ring with your hands - you will get very sticky! Scatter with sugar crystals and vermicelli or tiny cake sweets, transfer to another clean platter and serve.
© 1990 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.