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Handmade Doughnuts with Grappa
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Published: 3/5/2008 12:17 AM

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Bomboloni

1 two-ounce cake fresh yeast or 3 packages active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

½ cup sugar, divided

1 egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup whole milk

½ teaspoon salt

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Canola oil for deep frying

Zabaglione

7 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

Pinch of salt

½ cup water

¼ cup grappa di Moscato

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

1 cup sugar for coating

To make the bomboloni: In a bowl, whisk together the yeast, water and ¼ cup sugar. Let stand for about 10 minutes so the yeast can bloom. When the yeast is foamy, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix in the egg, butter, milk, salt and the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Slowly add in the flour and mix until smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll out about ¼ inch thick. Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter to cut out as many rounds as possible from the dough, using all the dough. (Do not combine and reuse scraps.) Place on floured baking sheets and let rise until doubled again, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the zabaglione: Have ready a large bowl of ice water. In a metal bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, salt, water and grappa until thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, place the pan in the bowl of ice water, and stir to cool. When cool, fold in the whipped cream. Set aside. Put the 1 cup sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, pour oil to a depth of 8 inches. Heat to 350 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Add one-third of the bomboloni and fry, turning once, until golden, 30-60 seconds per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. While still warm, toss in a little sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining batches.

Serve the bomboloni warm with the zabaglione.

Serves 10 to 14.

Cook's note: Grappa, "grape stalk," is a brandy made by distilling grape skins left over from the winemaking process.

Nutrition values per serving: 280 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 42 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein, 85 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium.

"The Spiaggia Cookbook" by Tony and Cathy Mantuano (2004 Chronicle Books, $40)