I have been on a quest to find a good recipe for those lovely light, yeasty, addictive Italian doughnuts for over a year now. We got rather addicted to them on our last trip to Italy. A bomboloni (the bigger version) filled with crema (patisserie cream) eaten at a cafe, standing up while drinking a very nice expresso coffee. Yum! I have tried a couple of recipes which have been lovely doughnuts but not close enough to what I was trying to create. So I did what any food obsessed person who wants to waste time at work does, I googled “bombolini”. I found one promising looking recipe on an Italian food blog. My six months of Italian lessons many years ago was good enough to translate the ingredient list but not the recipe, or maddeningly the ‘cooks tips’. Other recipes called for tons of eggs and looked suspiciously like the recipes I had tried before. So armed with some scribbled notes from a few recipes I attempted these again yesterday. I ended up making it up as I went along, hence the reason to quickly write down the recipe before I forget what I did! The end result was beautifully light, melt in the mouth with still enough bite in it (the yeast effect I think, compared to commerical donuts that can be light but turn to glug in your mouth). They are lighter than the ones I made using the Richard Bertinet recipe. The texture was a bit like a Krispy Kreme donut (not that I am in any way a fan of them) – but a much nicer , tastier and slightly lighter version. They were so delicious that I ended up breaking my goal of staying off sugar for a month (only three days into the start of the month…ooops), and I broke that goal in a rather spectacular fashion. Goal smashing continued this morning with my inability to stop eating some more of the left overs for breakfast. Still pretty good this morning, although not as sensational as when they were still warm. If you decide to make them, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
(This makes a large batch…approx 30-40 medium size doughnuts)
600g strong plain flour
2 tsp dry instant yeast
250ml milk at room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
100g soft butter
sunflower (or similar) oil for deepfrying
caster sugar and cinnamon
I used a stand mixer to knead this and finished the last part by hand. Mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, eggs, grated lemon zest and milk and start kneading. Add the water once it starts to come together into a ball. Knead for 5-10 minutes. You want a relatively firm dough at this stage. Now add in the butter in spoonfuls, slowly as the mixer runs. You may need to do this part by hand. If the butter is not getting incorporated into the dough easily/well, add some more milk to make the dough a bit softer. At the end when all the butter is incorporated the dough is soft and shiny. Not as soft as a brioche dough if you are familiar with that, but a lot softer than a standard bread type of dough. Allow to sit in a well oiled bowl, covered, until it nearly doubles in volume. This can take up to two hours. Turn the dough out on a well floured surface and gently roll it out to about 1 cm thickness. Using a small glass or other round scone or cookie cutter, cut out circles and place them on a sheet of baking paper. Combine the scraps and roll out again to cut more circles. Allow it to sit for a further half an hour to an hour. Heat some oil up to deep fry the doughnuts. They burn really easily so it takes a bit of trial and error to get the temperature right – so it cooks right through without burning. If the oil is not hot enough they will just soak up oil. I found that I needed to get the oil really hot and then turn the stove down to the lowest it could go. I then waited for three or four minutes before adding in the doughnuts. Turn over after a minute or two. Remove from oil and drain for a minute or two on some kitchen paper.
In a bowl combine the caster sugar and ground cinnamon. Roll the still hot doughnuts in this mixture.
We ate most of these so fast that in the end I did not make the pastry cream to fill these. They would be fantastic with the pastry cream though, or even some nutella or jam if you feel that way inclined. Then again, they were sensational just plain!