A few Sundays ago, as part of our Mothers’ Day Feast, we made bomboloni. These are buttery little Italian doughnuts, otherwise known as bomboloni. I love that word – I like repeating it over and over and over again. Bomboloni.
Gary made a version of these on masterchef the other Friday night – but let me promise you, we had our idea to make these BEFORE he did. (Although I stole the lavender sugar idea from him.)
We based our bomboloni on a recipe from Guy Grossi’s My Italian Heart. However, we changed the method a fair bit. Let me warn you, these aren’t the healthiest little morsels. The amount of butter, in particular, is somewhat alarming. (I was reminded of that old Simpsons episode where Homer makes his ‘patented out-of-this-world space-age moon waffle’ and says: ‘mmmm….fattening’ – recipe here, amusingly.) I classify bomboloni as a ‘sometimes’ food. Darn good, though.
This recipe makes around 40 bomboloni. This is how it’s done:
2 tsp fresh yeast
approx. ½ cup tepid water mixed with 2 tsp sugar
1 kg flour, preferably Italian 00
1 tbs salt
100g sugar + extra cup or so for rolling/dusting
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
400g butter, substantially softened
A few tbs ground cinnamon OR broken up lavender buds
1 litre vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)
200g jam or pastry cream
- First, put the yeast in a small bowl with some tepid water and a few teaspoons of sugar. It was cold here when I did this so I placed the dish in a very mild (approx. 30°C) oven to stay warm. When froth appears, the yeast is ready and fine to use. This takes about 15 minutes.
- Sift the flour, salt and 100g of sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the orange zest.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the yeast and eggs. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Use an electric beater, dough hook, or your hands to bring together and mix.
- When the mixture has come together, knead for a few minutes on a floured bench. Add water to loosen if needed.
- Add the softened butter to the dough and continue to knead until thoroughly incorporated.
- Place the dough back in a clean, oiled bowl. Put in a warm place and let it double in size. For me, this took overnight.
- Knock the dough down. Separate it into two slabs and wrap in clingfilm. Place in the fridge for a few hours.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into small balls, about an inch high. Place the balls on a floured tray to prove.
- Let the balls rise until they have at least doubled in size. This takes about an hour.
- Heat some neutral oil in a saucepan or deep fryer to 165°C.
- Add the balls in small batches to the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes each. Ensure that the oil remains at the correct temperature by using a thermometer.
- Remove the balls when they are golden brown, and drain on a paper towel. Roll in a sugar/cinnamon or sugar/lavender mixture. (I found that the lavender mixture, while interesting, just didn’t compare to the classic cinnamon mixture.)
- Use a small knife to put a hole in the balls and pipe in some pastry cream or jam. Serve while hot. Enjoy!