Bomboloni, Bombolone, Bombolini
Bomboloni are popular Italian desserts or snacks made of round pieces of deep-fried dough filled with jam, sweet cream or custard. They can be viewed as Italy’s answer to American jelly doughnuts or cream-filled doughnuts. However, rather than having a hole in the middle, bomboloni are completely filled and are either closed at the top, or are filled from the top, creating a small “button” of filling. Also, they are traditionally coated in sugar.
These sweet treats are also sometimes referred to as bomba or bomb in different regions in Italy, most likely due to the explosion of filling that occurs when it is bitten into.
Wondering what “bombolone” is? Bombolone is simply the single version of bomboloni.
(Italian-American dad joke of the day: What do you call an Italian doughnut that got a divorce? A bombolonely. *Ba dum tss*)
So then, what are bombolini? Well, “bombolini” is simply a commonly misspelled version of bomboloni and a pasta restaurant in Virginia.
Where did they come from?
Bomboloni originated in Tuscany, Italy and date back to the early 17th century. It is an evolution of the Austrian krapfen (jelly-filled doughnut), which was said to be invented by a German woman with the surname, Krapft.
Flavors and variations of bomboloni
As you may have guessed, this variation of the bombolone is filled with Nutella. It gives it a satisfyingly creamy, yet chocolatey flavor for all of you chocoholics. Nutella can also be replaced with any other flavored jam, jelly, preserve, or cream.
The bombolato is an ice cream sandwich made of bombolone and gelato. The gelato is often chocolate or vanilla, but it can come in all kinds of flavors. Also, bombolatos can be dressed up, like the strawberry shortcake bombolato at Disney Springs.
Where to get them (Bomboloni bakeries and restaurants)
You can find different types of these filled Italian doughnuts at many authentic Italian pastry shops and restaurants. Here’s an interactive map that shows dozens of locations throughout the US that serve this Italian dessert.
How to make bomboloni
Want to try your hand at making your very own bombolone? Here is a simple recipe that you can modify to your tastes and preferences. Feel free to play around with flavors and different fillings from jams, chocolate spreads, nut butters, gelato and more. Enjoy!
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup of milk (warmed)
- 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter (room temp)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- granulated sugar
- filling of your choice (strawberry jelly, Nutella, caramel, chantilly, lemon curd, etc.)
1) Add yeast and one teaspoon of sugar over warmed milk and stir gently. Set aside for about 3 minutes to activate.
2) In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add to activated yeast mixture. Add butter and eggs and knead everything into an even dough.
3) Add flour to clean surface and roll dough (approx 1/2" in thickness). Use round cookie cutter (approx 3") to cut out doughnut pieces. Space out pieces on floured baking sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel for 1.5 hours.
4) Preheat pan filled halfway with vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Place on paper towel-covered dish to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with granulated sugar all over. With a star-tipped piping bag, fill each doughnut with your favorite filling (strawberry jelly, Nutella, caramel, chantilly, lemon curd, etc.). Enjoy!
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.