Ciao Italia Family Classics
Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.
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MAKES 18 DONUTS
On Fat Tuesday, Martedi Grasso, the day before the long Lenten season, I indulge myself and my family by making these donuts, reminiscent of those I have eaten in Tuscany. Called bomboloni, they are usually deep-fried and then given a light veil of confectioners’ sugar. In this version, the donuts are baked, then filled with a velvety vanilla and chocolate pastry cream, which gives them a certain culinary panache.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
1 recipe Simply Sweet Dough
In a medium saucepan, off the heat, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, then whisk in the salt. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half.
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour half the filling into a small bowl. Add the chocolate to the filling remaining in the saucepan and stir until it is completely melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate filling into a small bowl.
Stir half the lemon zest into each bowl of pastry cream. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface of the pastry cream, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Lightly spray two baking sheets with vegetable oil spray. Set aside.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half under your palms into an 18-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into nine 2-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a 2-inch round and space them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
Cover the sheets with clean towels and let them rise for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the donuts for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the donuts to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Fill a 14-inch pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip with the vanilla pastry cream. If you have a second bag and tip, fill it with the chocolate pastry cream. (Or fill half the donuts with the vanilla cream. Then wash and dry the bag and fill the remaining donuts with chocolate cream.)
With the handle of a wooden spoon, carefully make a hole in the side of each donut, twisting the handle gently to bore almost but not quite all the way through the donut.
Insert the tip of one of the pastry bags into one of the prepared holes and squeeze the pastry cream into the donut until the hole is filled. Repeat to fill half the donuts with each flavoring. Place the donuts on a serving dish and sprinkle liberally with confectioners’ sugar. (Any leftover pastry cream can be eaten as pudding.)
Note: If you do not have a pastry bag, you can use a large resealable plastic bag. With scissors, cut a small opening in one corner of the bag. Fill the bag with pastry cream, seal the bag, and squeeze the filling into the donuts.
This recipe is from WHAT YOU KNEAD by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1997.
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