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Italian Donut Holes Recipe

Bomboloncini – Italian donut holes – is hard to say, but easy to eat. Once they’re fried, you can toss them in sugar or fill them with an endless supply of things to ooze out of the centre: créme pâtissiére, flavoured creams, jams, buttercream … just about anything that’ll squeeze into a piping (icing) bag. My favourite is lime or lemon zest beaten into cream or créme pâtissiére. – Zacchary Bird

MEDIUM | Makes 24


  • 275 g (9½ oz) bread flour or plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 25 g (1 oz) granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba 
  • 7 g (2 teaspoons) instant dried yeast 
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt 
  • 20 g (¾ oz) vegan butter 
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • caster (superfine) sugar, for sprinkling
  • neutral-flavoured oil, for deep-frying


  1. Add the flour, sugar, aquafaba, yeast, milk and 60 ml (2 fl oz) of water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Begin kneading on medium speed for 16–20 minutes. After the first 3 minutes of kneading, add the salt, then the butter, teaspoon by teaspoon. Dump in the lemon zest. When the dough passes the windowpane test (page 52), cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  2. Punch down the dough to deflate it, then divide into 20 g (¾ oz) pieces about the size of ping-pong balls. For each piece, fold the edges over the top and pinch to gather them together to create a smooth ball. Flip the ball seam side down onto a very lightly floured work surface. 
  3. Cup a hand around one side of a dough ball and push the ball from side to side, left to right and towards you, allowing the dough to balloon out as it rolls and smooth out any seams. Alternatively, use your palms to roll the dough into smooth balls. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Allow to rest on a lightly floured surface for another 2 hours, to almost double in size again.
  4. Heat 5–7.5 cm (2–3 in) of neutral-flavoured oil in a large heavy-based saucepan until the temperature registers above 175°C (345°F) on a kitchen thermometer, or when the handle of a wooden spoon instantly bubbles when placed in the oil. Adjust the temperature slightly to keep it around 175°C (345°F) while frying the donuts. 
  5. Place enough caster sugar to coat the donuts in a wide bowl.
  6. Working in batches, carefully add the donuts to the hot oil and cook for 
  7. 2–3 minutes, gently moving them around with a slotted spoon until evenly golden brown. Transfer to paper towel to drain, then immediately toss in the sugar until completely coated. 
  8. Eat the donuts warm, or allow to cool before proceeding to make the donut hole croquembouche on page 210. Eat within a day of making to enjoy the best and freshest results.

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