How to make bombolini, step by step

Because good things come in small packages.

By The Gourmet Traveller team
Bombolini, those bite-sized, deep-fried, cream-filled beauties, hail from Trentino Alto-Adige, a region with Austrian influence in the north of Italy. Often served in bars at breakfast time, alongside a rich espresso shot, they are equally delightful any time of day.
The dough is impossibly light, with the sparkly crunch of a spiced sugar coating, and filled with something smooth and creamy – jam and whipped cream, perhaps, or crème pâtissière. In our bombolini recipe, flecks of orange zest punctuate the dough while crushed fennel seeds add a savoury element to the sugar coating. Be warned: these little treats are extremely moreish. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to prove the dough.

What you'll need

How to make bombolini, step by step

Step 1 Combine 100gm plain flour, 7gm dried yeast, 60gm honey, finely grated zest of 2 oranges and 130ml lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until smooth. Cover and stand in a warm place until foamy (45 minutes).
Step 2 Change attachment to a dough hook. Add 30ml milk, 6 egg yolks, 70gm raw caster sugar, 1 tsp fine salt and 45gm softened butter. Mix on low speed to combine, then add 350gm flour and mix until dough is silky and sticky (5 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2. Photo: John Paul Urizar
Step 3 Meanwhile, for fennel and orange sugar, dry-roast 1 tbsp fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat (1-2 minutes), then coarsely grind in a mortar and pestle. Cool then combine in a shallow tray with 110gm raw caster sugar and finely grated zest of 1 orange; set aside.
Step 4 Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1.5cm thick. Cut out rounds using a 4cm-diameter cutter.
Step 4. Photo: John Paul Urizar
Step 5 To cook bomboloni, three-quarter fill a large saucepan with vegetable oil; heat to 180°C. Deep-fry bomboloni, turning once, in four batches, until puffed and golden (2-3 minutes). Drain on paper towel then roll in spiced sugar.
Step 5. Photo: John Paul Urizar
Step 6 With a sharp knife, slice bomboloni in half and fill with your favourite homemade jam (we used spiced orange jam) and whipped cream. Alternatively, you can pipe cream or thick vanilla custard (crème pâtissière) directly into the bomboloni.
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