Fat Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day), Valentine’s Day and then Chinese New Year: next week looks packed with reasons to celebrate with something very sweet, don’t you think? While living in Singapore means that I can breath and feel the build up to Chinese New Year everywhere, I still have so much to learn on the traditions around this festivity. While I do my homework on that subject, this week I focused on a recipe that brings me right back to my Italian origin. Fat Tuesday in Italy means fried goods, so this year I want to mark the occasion by making bomboloni, also known as krapfen in Austria and as doughnuts all around the globe. While krapfen are usually filled with apricot jam, bomboloni are a lot richer, filled with crème patissiere or even nutella! Since my hubby is a chocolate lover, I made some chocolate crème pat to use as a filling, and followed Lilvienna’s krapfen recipe, which appealed to me better than bomboloni thanks to their rum aroma! I also tried and baked a few in the oven and the result was very good, even if I must admit they dry a lot faster. Frying takes a bit of adjustment and it is possible that the first time you make them your doughnuts won’t look exactly as you had imagined them. But don’t give up, they will still taste great, and the preparation is so simple that you can always make them again until you reach the finish you are looking for. I certainly did that!
180g warm milk
60g granulated sugar
1 sachet (11g) active dry yeast
3 egg yolks from large eggs
60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum
3/4 tsp fine salt
375g type 00 flour plus up to 2 tablespoons (15 g) more if you are kneading by hand
230ml groundnut/peanut oil (or any other light vegetable oil suitable for frying)
150g smooth, fine-textured jam – not chunky (stir in 1 teaspoon rum if you like)
Or make some crème patissiere like I did for a bomboloni resemblance.
Some Icing sugar for dusting
Step 1 – If you are filling your doughnuts with crème patissiere, make this first, possibly one day in advance so it has the time to cool down properly. The recipe of mine will come soon! If you are filling them with jam, add the rum (if that’s your preference) and keep it ready in the fridge.
Step 2 – In a large bowl, mix the warm milk, sugar and dry yeast. Leave it on a side for 5 to 10 minutes, so it gets active and starts making bubbles.
Step 3 – Add the egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla, rum, and salt and mix well with a hand whisk until you incorporate all the ingredients.
Step 4 – Add half of the flour, and keep mixing with the hand whisker to make a homogeneous batter that resembles a pancake mix.
Step 5 – Add the rest of the flour and keep incorporating either with a wooden spoon or with a hand mixer with kneading hooks. All ingredients should come together in a sticky dough. Keep mixing with the hand mixer for 5 minutes, or if you are kneading by hand, add a bit more flour in order to help your process, as the dough is very sticky. You can also use a scrapper to fold the dough if it helps.
Step 6 – In the bowl, mix the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth. Then grease a clean bowl and move your dough there, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, for 1-1.5 hours. I usually do this in the oven, turning the light on but keeping the temperature off.
Step 7 – Line a baking tray with oven paper and dust it with flour and keep it ready on a side. Flip the dough on a floured surface, dust it in flour and roll it to ½ inch thickness. With a round 2 ½ – 3 inches cooky cutter or drinking glass, cut rounds. Place the rounds on the oven tray. Use the remaining dough to cut more rounds, you can shape the last one or two with your hands by making a ball and flattening it in the oven tray so it looks similar to the others. Cover the rounds with a kitchen towel and place them to rise for the second time in a warm place for 45 minutes. Uncover them for the last 15 minutes, so that they will develop a skin.
Step 8 – After the second rise, your rounds will look pretty puffed up already – the excitement! If you are put off by the frying part, you can coat them in egg wash (with one egg yolk and half a cup of milk) and stick them in the oven at 180° for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown, Just as for the fried ones, make sure to eat them on the same day as they will dry a lot if you leave them for the next day.
Step 9 – If you want to try the original fried doughnuts, pour the vegetable oil into a medium pan and place it on the stove on a medium heat until the oil has reached a stable bubbling point. You can measure this by using a thermometer – the temperature should be around 165°C – or by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil and see if the bubbles look steady enough. With a flat spatula, carefully place three krapfens into the oil, face down. Let them fry for about a minute, they should be golden brown. Flip them and let fry until the other side has reached the same colour (it should take 30 seconds or so). Transfer the krapfen on a plate or baking tray lined with kitchen paper and repeat the process until you have fried all your krapfens.
Step 10 – Let them cool. Then place your jam or crème pat into a piping bag with a round tip. Stick a chopstick in the side of the Krapfen to create a tunnel. Pipe in some of the filling. Repeat for all your bomboloni. Apologies for the lack of photos – it was a rather messy moment and I didn’t have any extra hands to take a photo of the piping. Here’s a photo of the baked ones finished:
Step 11 – Cover the doughnuts with icing sugar and get ready for a memorably Fat Tuesday! Have you ever tried making doughnuts at home? Let us know if you try this recipe.