Bomboloni Donuts. You should know that even in Tuscany we have a version of the American Donuts. In Tuscany, we call them Bomboloni. Honestly, I only knew them with the Tuscan name before Homer Simpson made donuts so popular in Italy.

When I think about Bomboloni and donuts my mind goes immediately back to the summer of the ’80s and ’90s when I was a kid. I used to spend the whole summer at the beach of the Versilia and Apuan Coast with my mother and my two sisters. Sometimes, if we were “unusually” good, or if our mamma just forgot our Merenda snacks, we could get a Bombolone.

Bomboloni in our childhood

At that time, as today, the owners of the bath establishments used to prepare warm Bomboloni sprinkled with sugar in the afternoon. You could hear the announcement via the microphone informing guests that Bomboloni donuts were ready at the bar. “Sono pronti i bomboloni!” they said.

Also, you could find peddlers selling Bomboloni on the beaches. They shouted “Bomboloni! Bomboloni caldi!” (Bomboloni! Hot Bomboloni!). In both cases, all kids, like in the fairytale Pied Piper of Hamelin, were running to buy at least one. Coming back to their mothers with their faces and hands full of sugar icing.

Other places where it is common seeing bomboloni douts are local fairs or funfairs. You can buy one from the food trucks but for me, they taste too much different. I miss something… the scent of sea salt on them. Even if the time pass, my memories go to my childhood, and the connection between Bomboloni and the beach, is still really strong.

What are Bomboloni, the Tuscan donuts?

If the United States has donuts and Austria has Krapfen, Tuscany has Bomboloni.

It seems the recipe arrived in Tuscany from Austria during the XVIII century when the House of Habsburg-Lorraine guided the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Then the delicious Bomboloni became popular even in other regions of Italy like Emilia Romagna.

The bombolone is a fluffy fried dough, round in shape covered with sugar.

We usually eat it, warm or cold, for breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack. Never as dessert after lunch or dinner.

What makes the difference between Bomboloni of the Tuscan traditions and the ones from other regions of Italy is the process of making.

The dough is softer and has a thin texture. While the krapfen, the American donut, or the “Bomba” from Lazio have a thicker texture. We use less butter and fry in oil at a lower temperature (that makes them less heavy). The original recipe does not have eggs but today we give you a version of a grandmother that has 1 egg in the dough.

The original Tuscan bombolone is empty. However, there is also a version with cream inside, popular especially in the south of the region where they fill it with a cream.

Bombolone has also a version with a hole in the middle. In this case, they better look like the classic American donuts.

In the area of Versilia and Carrara (northern Tuscany) where I am from, no matter which shape they have, we call them Bomboloni.

If you go south in the Livorno area, they call Bomboloni only the version stuffed with custard or Nutella. The version with the hole in the middle is known as Frate. Literally friar.

What a funny name! And how strange is giving different names to the same things in towns that are less of 100 km away from each other!

Bomboloni Donuts, (D’oh!) … in the Italian culture

Gianna Nannini is an Italian singer that was really popular from the end of the ’70s until the ’90s all over Europe. In 1996 she composed and performed a song dedicated both to that snack and to real bombs. Should I mention that she is from Siena as well? Below find the video and the lyrics, both in Italian and English, for those who are interested in understanding what she sings about.

https://youtu.be/mQ9eXA9UKRo

Bomboloni

Italian Version:

 Regalami una bomba che ti faccio vedere io
 la gara di chi mangia troppo
 oggi vinco io
 regalami una bombola del gas per domani
 che devo cucinarti
 un mondo nuovo e senza problemi
 dai regalami una bomba bombolo
 che ci voglio fare un capitombolo
 bomboloni
 regalami un martello che stanotte ti pianto io
 un chiodo fisso nel cervello
 oggi offro io
 regalami una bomba
 che ti faccio scoppiare io
 un mondo nuovo caldo caldo
 come dico io
 dai regalami una bomba bombolo
 che ci voglio fare un capitombolo
 tieni strette le mie mani
 bomboloni bomboloni
 dai regalami una bomba bombolo
 che ti faccio fare un capitombolo
 stringi forte le mie mani bomboloni bomboloni
 bomboloni caldi
 bomboloni caldi 

Here is the English version:

 Give me a bomb that I will show you
 The race of those who eat too much
 Today I win
 Give me a gas bottle for tomorrow
 That I must cook
 A new world with no problems
 Give me a bomb bombolo
 That I want to make a tumble
 bomboloni
 Give me a hammer that tonight I plant to you
 A fixed nail in the brain
 Today i offer
 Give me a bomb
 That I'm gonna burst you
 A hot new hot world
 As I say
 Give me a bomb bombolo
 That I want to make a tumble
 Hold my hands tight
 Bomboloni, bomboloni
 Give me a bomb bombolo
 That I make you a tumble
 Hold my hands tight
 Hot Bomboloni
 Hot Bomboloni 

To get this recipe, I asked my grandmother her bomboloni donuts version. She gave me the one she inherited from her dear friend and colleague Bice. During the summer season, Ms. Bice used to prepare and sell their handmade Bomboloni. My grandma desired to honor her memory making me promise to mention her in this recipe. So I did.

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Bomboloni the Donuts of Tuscany
Bomboloni donuts recipe
Bomboloni, the Donuts of Tuscany
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 bomboloni 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes approx. until gilded 3 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bomboloni 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes approx. until gilded 3 hours
Bomboloni donuts recipe
Bomboloni, the Donuts of Tuscany
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 bomboloni 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes approx. until gilded 3 hours
Servings Prep Time
12 bomboloni 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes approx. until gilded 3 hours
Ingredients
First Dough
Second Dough
Servings: bomboloni
Instructions
First Dough
  1. Pour flour, water, and brewers’ yeast in a bowl and mix.
  2. Make a homogeneous pat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest for 1 hour in a turned-off oven.
Second Dough
  1. Pour in a bowl flours, with an egg in the middle, butter, sugar and lemon zest.
  2. Mix with your hands, and pour milk little by little.
  3. Add the first dough.
  4. Mix with your hands for 20 minutes to get a homogenous and solid dough. If you use the pasta maker machine, work it until it will be strung to the hook.
  5. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap, and let it rise in a turned-off oven for 2 hours.
  6. Roll the dough to obtain a puff pastry of 2 cm / 0'78" inch of height.
  7. Use a circular pasta cutter with 8 cm / 3'14 inch of diameter to make some disks. With a plastic bottle cap press in the center of the pasta disk to get the donuts. Put them on a baking tray covered with bakery paper, with some scattered flour.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap for one hour.
Frying
  1. When the dough is ready, pour some seeds oil in a frying pan. When the oil will be hot enough, fry one at the time the bomboloni, turning them upside down a couple of times.
  2. When the bomboloni will be gilded, drip the oil with a slotted spoon. Put them upon bakery paper scattered with sugar for the icing, until the entire surface is covered.
  3. Serve while still warm! Enjoy
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