Yield: about 3 dozen small doughnuts
Italian Cherry Doughnuts (Bomboloni)
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (heat in microwave)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond brand. Halve the amount if using Morton’s)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- ¼ cup softened butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
- 2 eggs
- 4 – 6 cups neutral tasting olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 cup cherry preserves and/or 1 cup pastry cream (recipe below)
- Dissolve the yeast with the milk in a medium bowl; stir in 1 cup of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof until bubbly, about 1 hour.
- Whisk together the remaining flour with the salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
- Beat the butter in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, until blended.
- Add the yeast mixture along with the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until the flour is incorporated and a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl forms, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and leave at room temperature 1 hour. (The dough can also be refrigerated up to one day ahead of frying at this point – leave out for one hour before proceeding.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and pat or roll it out ½-inch thick. Cut out circles using a 1 – 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter. Arrange the doughnuts on a baking sheet, lightly cover with a towel and let them rise for an hour.
- Pour oil to a depth of 4 inches in a heavy pot or saucepan (I used a 3-quart) and heat to 350 degrees.
- Drop the doughnuts into the oil 3 or 4 at a time. Fry until puffed and golden all over, turning once. Remove the doughnuts as they’re done and immediately roll them in sugar, then onto a rack to cool.
- Put the jam and/or pastry cream in a piping bag or a sealable plastic bag fitted with a plain pastry tip. Gently poke a hole into each doughnut with a wide skewer (or use the pastry tip) and fill each bomboloni. Serve freshly made.
*To make pastry cream: Heat 1 ½ cups whole milk and a vanilla bean broken in half, until it comes to a boil. Whisk 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl until thickened; sift over ¼ cup flour and stir it in.
Scoop out a few tablespoons of the boiling milk and whisk into the eggs; then pour the eggs into the milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the cream is thickened to the texture of mayonnaise.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Strain into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold. Stir in some heavy cream to thin before piping, if needed.