Bomboloni are Italian filled doughnuts primarily connected to the Tuscany region, but they may have origins in Austria.
In some parts of Italy, they are called bomba or bombe meaning “bomb,” because they resemble a small grenade.
What makes them different from American-style doughnuts is that the creamy filling is visible from the top rather than hidden inside.
Bomboloni carts are popular at beaches for a snack.
Even though the filling is usually a sweet vanilla pastry cream, sometimes they are filled with chocolate-hazelnut spread or fruit jam.
When serving bomboloni for dessert after an Italian meal, pair with a cup of espresso or even a sparkling red wine from the Piemonte region of Italy.
Ingredients for the bomboloni:
- 1/2 package (3 ounces) fresh yeast
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups canola oil
Ingredients for the cream -filling:
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/8 cup unbleached, all -purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
To make the bomboloni dough:
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk and add 1/8 cup of sugar and the salt.
Stir well to incorporate.
Add the flour, vanilla and butter. Stir well to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is smoothed.
Roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick.
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut into disks.
Move the disks to another clean work surface dusted lightly with flour.
Bring together the leftover scraps of dough, roll them out, and cut out the remaining disks.
You should end up with 14 disks.
Cover them with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled.
You could also refrigerate them, covered well, and fry them the next morning.
To make the pastry cream:
In a large bowl or the bowl to a standing mixer, beat the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed, until they become lemon colored and thick.
Reduce speed to low.
Slowly add the flour and beat until well blended.
Heat milk almost to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
Turn off heat just before milk boils.
Add 2 tablespoons of the hot milk to the egg mixture, while beating on low heat.
Continue beating the mixture, and add the remaining warm milk in a slow, steady stream.
(Adding the milk too fast or not beating the mixture while adding the milk will cause the eggs to curdle).
Once all of the milk has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.
Pour custard back into the medium saucepan.
Cook custard for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Custard is done when it coats the back of a spoon and you can run your finger through it without the edges running into the middle.
Allow to cool.
Cover the top with plastic wrap so that it does not form a skin.
Refrigerate until the bomboloni are ready to be filled.
To fry the bomboloni:
Heat the canola oil in a large, deep pan over medium heat to 300 degrees F.
Fry the bomboloni 4 or 5 at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes each side, or until golden.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
Dust with sugar on each side.
Continue with remaining doughnuts.
With a small knife, make a hole halfway through the bomboloni, being careful not to puncture the sides.
Fill a pastry bag with the cream.
Pipe the cream into the center of each pastry, taking care not to over stuff it.