Although I have traveled in Italy at least 4 times in my life – I have not tasted Bomboloni! I just can’t remember seeing these Italian donuts with the cutest name in the Italian bakeries. I’m pretty sure they were there, but somehow managed to slip out of my sight, maybe because doughnuts are generally less appealing to me than pastries and cakes.
Still – I read countless recipes online, saw hundreds of pictures, watched prep videos – and was very intrigued by Bomboloni. I imagined airy donuts like a cloud, bursting with vanilla cream and coated in sugar grains that crackle in the mouth. Hanukkah is almost here and I decided it was time to make the imagination a reality. Yes, yes, even though I have never tasted the original.
So, I finally made Bomboloni – these Italian donuts that you may have tasted and maybe you’re just as curious about as I am. And what can I tell you – they completely lived up to expectations. Puffy and airy with a gentle filling of mascarpone cream and sugar coating. The kind of things that are hard to go wrong about, let’s admit. What could already be wrong with a fried dough with a cream filling and sugar coating? Nothing!
I managed to make the Bomboloni with a vanilla pastry cream, but I have to admit – my favorite version was actually mascarpone cream. The fact that mascarpone is an insanely rich type of Italian cream – it just felt more right to me than pastry cream. Either way – Bomboloni are a beautiful idea for Hanukkah, and with such a cute name you just have to give it a try too.
Bomboloni - Italian Donuts filled with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
For the dough:
- 500 grams (3 ½ cups) of all-purpose flour
- 70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
- 11 grams (2 tsp.) dry yeast
- Grated peel of 1 lemon
- 3 large eggs
- 50 grams of soft butter
- 80 ml. (1/3 cup) milk
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 liter of oil
For the bomboloni coating:
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
For the vanilla mascarpone cream filling:
- 250 g (1 cup) Mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 50 grams (5 tablespoons) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 500 ml. (2 cups) whipping cream very cold
In a mixer bowl with a kneading attachment place flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel, eggs, butter, milk and salt and knead on low speed for 10-12 minutes until a uniform and smooth dough is obtained.
Cover the bowl and allow rising for 1-2 hours or until the dough doubles in volume.
Design the Bomboloni:
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1-2 cm and cut out circles 5-6 cm in diameter.
Place the dough circles on a baking sheet or tray lined with well-greased baking paper.
Cover and allow rising for 25-45 minutes or until almost double in volume.
Heat oil in a large saucepan to a temperature of 160 Celsius degrees.
Fry the donuts for 2-3 minutes on each side or until nicely golden brown.
Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and immediately roll in sugar to coat the outside.
Cool at room temperature before filling.
Mascarpone cream filling:
In a mixer bowl with a whipping attachment place mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla pudding and whip on medium speed until combined.
Increase the speed of the mixer and add the cream in a thin stream while whipping.
Continue to whip until a very uniform and stable mascarpone cream is obtained.
Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a smooth 1 cm piping tip.
Make a small hole in the side of each bomboloni and fill with cream generously.
- The bomboloni are at their best on the day of frying and immediately after filling.
- It is important not to give up the sugar coating that adds a pleasant crackle in the mouth and also contributes to the special look.
- If you want, you can add cinnamon to the sugar coating for added flavor.
- Instead of grated lemon peel, you can use orange peel or any other citrus fruit you like.
- If desired, you can add vanilla extract to the dough itself.