Bom-bo-LONI: It’s a fantastic combination of vowels and consonants, don’t you think? Not only do I love to roll the sound of the word around, I’m once again wandering into deep-frying territory with these crazy-good Italian filled doughnuts.
I won’t lie; going to the trouble of deep-fat frying combined with having to mess with a piping bag lies right outside my comfort zone of carefree cooking, and right up next to pain-in-the-culo.
I brainstorm and then procrastinate ideas for a small mobile business (more than a few have taken my gelato truck and driven away with it)…why not a Bombolini Bus? Or maybe something more bricks and mortar; like The Bombolini Bar – a hole-in-the-wall serving up fresh, hot doughnut holes alongside cold glasses of pink Prosecco.
It doesn’t seem likely I’ll be doing that anytime soon, but if you do, please invite me to your grand opening.
In the meantime, I have to admit it was worth the effort to make homemade doughnuts. My kids really had no idea, no benchmark, for fresh, real doughnuts in a landscape saturated with drive-through junk.
If you take the doughnut plunge, definitely plan to make these when there are enough people around to devour them right as they’re done. Although they are nicely, manageably bite-sized, that also translates into all the more easy to make disappear.
I “tested” a good half dozen bomboloni before I realized I would be depleting the entire output of the recipe if I kept going. So you’ve been warned.
If using cherry preserves, mash or puree to remove pieces of fruit that may clog the pastry tip.
The bomboloni are wonderful plain too, if you don't want to go the trouble of filling them. Another option - split them in half and spoon over preserves or filling of your choice.
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk (heat in microwave)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
¼ cup softened butter
¾ cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
4 – 6 cups neutral tasting olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 cup cherry preserves and/or 1 cup pastry cream (recipe below)
- Dissolve the yeast with the milk in a medium bowl; stir in 1 cup of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof until bubbly, about 1 hour.
- Whisk together the remaining flour with the salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
- Beat the butter in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, until blended.
- Add the yeast mixture along with the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until the flour is incorporated and a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl forms, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and leave at room temperature 1 hour. (The dough can also be refrigerated up to one day ahead of frying at this point – leave out for one hour before proceeding.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and pat or roll it out ½-inch thick. Cut out circles using a 1 ½ - 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter; arrange the doughnuts on a baking sheet, lightly cover with a towel and let them rise for an hour.
- Pour oil to a depth of 4 inches in a heavy pot or saucepan (I used a 3-quart All Clad) and heat to 350 degrees.
- Drop the doughnuts into the oil 3 or 4 at a time. Fry until puffed and golden all over, turning once. Remove the doughnuts as they’re done and immediately roll them in sugar, then onto a rack to cool.
- Put the jam and/or pastry cream in a piping bag or a sealable plastic bag fitted with a plain pastry tip. Gently poke a hole into each doughnut with a wide skewer (or use the pastry tip) and fill each bomboloni. Serve freshly made.
*To make pastry cream, heat 1 ½ cups whole milk and a vanilla bean broken in half, until it comes to a boil. Whisk 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl until thickened; sift over ¼ cup flour and stir it in. Scoop out a few tablespoons of the boiling milk and whisk into the eggs; then pour the eggs into the milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the cream is thickened to the texture of mayonnaise. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Strain into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold. Stir in some heavy cream to thin before piping, if needed.