The secret of these irresistible little doughnuts is ricotta cheese, which lightens the dough and gives the interior a pleasing, springy texture.
At top Italian restaurant Fiola, which is in Washington D.C., the chefs use a slotted spoon to transfer the doughnuts from the hot oil to two small bowls: the first lined with paper towels for blotting up excess oil, the second filled with sugar. From there, the bomboloni go straight to the table, where they're served with ice cream or jam.
You'll need an instant-read thermometer to monitor the frying oil.
Tip: If you're not used to frying, keep a thin bamboo skewer at hand. Test doneness by gently piercing a just-fried doughnut to the centre; if any wet dough clings to the skewer, return the doughnut to the oil and fry for another 20 to 40 seconds.
MAKE AHEAD: The ricotta needs to drain for 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to several hours before frying. The bomboloni are best served just after they've been fried.
NEED TO KNOW
|Type of dish||Sweet treat|
|Cooking time||30 min - 1 hour|
|Serves/makes||24-28 small doughnuts|
|A pinch of salt|
|340 grams of whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably an Italian brand|
|5 large eggs|
|Generous 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting|
|Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean|
|1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour|
|1 tablespoon baking powder|
|Finely grated zest of 1 orange|
|Finely grated zest of 1 lemon|
|4 cups blend of olive and canola oils, for frying|
Line a colander with cheesecloth or paper towels; suspend it over a bowl or place in the sink. Add the ricotta; let it sit for 30 minutes to drain. Discard any resulting whey, or reserve it for another use.
1. Combine the drained ricotta, salt, eggs, 1/2 sugar and the vanilla bean scrapings in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. On low speed, gradually add the mixture to the bowl; once it is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and slightly airy.
3. Stop to add the citrus zests; beat on low speed to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a few days.
4. When ready to fry, line a bowl with a few layers of paper towels. Place a good amount (start with 1 cup) of sugar in a separate bowl.
5. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (The oil should be at least 8 centimetres deep) over medium-high heat to 180 degrees. Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to drop 3 or 4 portions of dough (slightly smaller than a table-tennis ball) into the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, until deep brown, turning the bomboloni as needed. The doughnut balls should sound hollow when tapped.
6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bomboloni to the paper-towel-lined bowl; blot for a minute or two, then transfer to the bowl of sugar and toss to coat evenly.
7. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve right away.
Nutrition Per serving (based on 7): 390 calories, 13 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 160 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fibre, 15 g sugar
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