- Yield: 4 dozen bomboloni
- 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water (90 to 100°F., just warm to the touch)
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1⅓ cups plus a pinch of sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Canola oil, for oiling the bowl and frying
- Cooking spray
Earl Grey Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
How to Make It
To make the Bomboloni
- In a spouted measuring cup, stir together the yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar. Let proof until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, ⅓ cup of the sugar, eggs, and salt and mix on medium speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium high and add the butter a few pieces at a time until all is incorporated. Mix on high for 1 minute. The dough should come together in a mass but still be a little sticky; it should not completely clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still too wet, add up to ¼ cup more flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together in a mass. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The dough will not rise very much in the refrigerator.) To make the Earl Grey Cream
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a bare simmer. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and let steep 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until smooth. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly so the yolks don’t scramble. When all of the milk has been mixed in, pour everything back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat until the mixture has thickened and a few bubbles appear at the surface. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl, stir in the vanilla, and cover the surface of the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- After the dough has proofed overnight, remove from the refrigerator and, on a floured work surface, roll or press the dough to about ½ inch thick. Using a 1½-inch-round cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can. You should get about 4 dozen. Line 2 baking sheets with plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray. Arrange the bomboloni on the baking sheets, not touching. Cover loosely with another sheet of plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
- When you are ready to fry the bomboloni, heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep straight-sided skillet to 350°F. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip with the pastry cream. Spread the remaining 1 cup sugar in a shallow bowl and line a sheet pan with paper towels.
- Fry the bomboloni in several batches, about 2 minutes per side. (They will puff substantially, so don’t put too many in the skillet at once.) Drain on paper towels. Once you have fried them all, roll the hot bomboloni in the sugar. With a paring knife, make a hole in the top of each bomboloni just large enough to fit the pastry tip. Stick the tip in the center of the bomboloni, gently squeeze the bag, and add some of the filling to each bomboloni. These are best served right after filling but can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated.