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 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 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.
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