Italian Cherry Doughnuts (Bomboloni)

Italian Cherry Doughnuts (Bomboloni)

Italian Cherry Doughnuts (Bomboloni)


Yield: about 3 dozen small doughnuts

  • 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)

If using cherry preserves, mash or puree to remove pieces of fruit that may clog the pastry tip.The bomboloni are wonderful plain too, if you don’t want to go the trouble of filling them. Another option – split them in half and spoon over preserves or filling of your choice.


  1. 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.

  2. Whisk together the remaining flour with the salt and nutmeg in a bowl.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Pour oil to a depth of 4 inches in a heavy pot or saucepan (I used a 3-quart) and heat to 350 degrees.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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