Bomboloni or Florentine Doughnuts or Donuts

  • Serves: Makes about 15 to 20 2 1/2-inch and 15 to 20 1-inch Bomboloni
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When my daughter, Liz, studied abroad in Italy, during her Junior year in college, she often mentioned bomboloni, the yeast doughnuts found in many a Florentine café and pastry shops. When we stopped in Cafe Storico in New York City, I couldn't help but try them, and I fell in love! Ours were filled with apricot and raspberry jam. Our Bomboloni Recipe is filled with our creamy and rich Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Recipe. You can make them small and dip them in the same pastry cream or drizzle them with our Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe. Either way, this recipe makes a spectacular snack or dessert! You can easily cut this recipe in half if you don't want to make so many at a time, or freeze the cut-out doughnut dough for another time.


I use a blend of both all-purpose and bleached cake flour to make sure the recipe has some softness coming from the cake flour. Also, with yeast recipes requiring sugar, bleached cake flour also toughens the protein molecules, enabling the flour to carry more than its weight in sugar. This helps the recipe not collapse.

1 recipe Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
5 cups plus 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
1 1/2 cups bleached cake flour; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, well softened

Canola oil, peanut oil or shortening for frying

For Serving - choice of:

Sugar or Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Powdered Sugar for dusting

Make the dough:
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir. Let stand for 4 minutes until foamy.

2. Place the milk in a small saucepan or a microwaveable container and heat until warm to the touch.

3. Place 5 cups all-purpose flour, cake flour, remaining 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, the salt, and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer.

4. Make a well in the center of the ingredients in the bowl and add the yeast mixture, warm milk, and eggs.

5. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until a sticky dough forms.

6. Then beat in the butter.

7. Remove the paddle attachment from the mixer and replace with the dough hook attachment.
Beat in about 1/4 cup additional flour on low speed to make a smooth, soft dough, that is not too sticky. You may need more or less flour.

8. Increase the speed to medium and mix for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Let the dough rise:
1. Scrape the dough into a greased bowl and cover with greased-side-down plastic wrap.

2. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot and allow the dough to rise until almost doubled, about 2 hours.
SARAH SAYS: You can use Sarah's Microwave Bread Proofer for a faster rise.

3. Gently deflate the dough by pulling it from the sides of the bowl and turn it onto a floured surface.

Shape the doughnuts and let rise:
1. Roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/2-inch.

2. Using a plain-edged round cutter, 1-inch in diameter, cut the small doughnuts.

Using a plain-edged round cutter, 2 1/2-inches in diameter, cut the larger doughnuts.

NOTE: For the scraps, gather them, knead them briefly, let them rest for about 20 minutes. Then cut out more doughnuts.
At this stage, the cut-out Bombolini dough can be frozen for up to 1 week if well wrapped in plastic wrap. Allow the Bombolini to defrost in the refrigerator before proofing.

3. Place them on a baking sheet dusted with flour and cover them with greased-side-down plastic wrap.
Allow them to proof (rise) for about an hour, until they have doubled in size and appear light and full of air.

This shows one tray of cut-out doughnuts:

Fry the doughnuts:
1. About 20 minutes before using, heat 6 inches (4 to 6 cups) canola oil to 360 degrees F, indicated on a Deep Fry Thermometer, in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.

2. Fry the doughnuts in batches, the same size, 4 or 5 at a time (they will expand as they cook), in the hot oil, gently turning them until they are golden brown on both sides and cooked in the center.
SARAH SAYS: If you fry too many at a time, the oil temperature will dip down too much and they will not fry evenly.

Here we are frying the 1-inch doughnuts.

3. Remove the Bomboloni with a large slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

SARAH SAYS: Here we are frying the 2 1/2-inch large size ones together, a few at a time.

Remove and drain on paper towels when golden brown.

There are numerous ways to serve the doughnuts.
For the 1-inch Bomboloni, roll them in a bowl filled with granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar  mixture (sugar mixed with ground cinnamon) until evenly coated.

Serve warm, with the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream alongside.

To make filled Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream or jelly filled doughnuts:
1. Cut out 2 1/2-inch rounds of dough with a biscuit cutter, and fry as instructed above.

2. While the Bomboloni are still warm, dust them with powdered sugar until evenly coated.

3. Use a piping bag fitted with a plain tip to squeeze the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream or jam or jelly into the tops of them until you can feel the doughnut get slightly heavier, then stop.

4. If desired, then fit the pastry bag with a 2D tip to make the pastry cream rosette design on top.

5. Dust with more powdered sugar before serving.

Fried foods, such as doughnuts, are best eaten right away, if not within hours after they are made. 
Pastry cream filled doughnuts must be refrigerated; pastry cream is perishable.

Apricot Jam-filled Bomboloni

Cherry Jelly-filled Bomboloni

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