Bomba (The Bomb) Italian Doughnuts

The literal translation of the Italian word bomba is “bomb.” After you taste one you will know exactly why they have this name. What could be better then a fresh doughnut with Nutella? My friend Christina first told me about these lovely creatures on one of my first trips to Sorrento. Christina said, “You must try a bomba before you leave Sorrento.” I was traveling with a group of friends and early in the morning we would be headed from Sorrento to the Naples train station. I asked our driver Vito is there any way possible we could get a box of bombas  for our travels. Vito’s reply “Shelly, you worry for nothing. Vito takes care of everything.” One of the reasons I love Vito. I just will tell you the smell coming from the bomba box was enough to make one insane. As I am passing bombas to my friends one of my friends declines with a “No, thank you, I really do not want the calories.” Fair enough – I will take hers. My friend watches as we have Nutella on our lips and fingers and grabs for the box to get her bomba. There are some things in life you just should not say no to. Christina suggests two places to get the best bombas: Bar Paradise in Sorrento and Bar Fiorentino in Sant’ Agata. Below is my favorite recipe. I like the fresh vanilla bean and orange zest. When I would make these at Bella Bistro the customers went crazy!

  • 4 cups double zero “OO” flour (or all purpose)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 t instant yeast
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • zest of one orange
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of milk, heated to 110 degrees
  • 3  whole eggs
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • peanut oil or canola oil for frying

Place the flour, sugar, instant yeast and zest into a large mixing bowl. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape to remove the seeds, add the seeds to the flour mixture.

Make a well in the flours and add the warm milk. With a wooden spoon mix the ingredients together. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen aide mixer with the dough hook attachment to prepare your dough.

Add the eggs all at once and mix until a soft ball forms.

Add the butter in small pieces a little at a time.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough should be a little soft but not sticky.

Place the dough in a well oiled  mixing bowl, covered with plastic wrap  and in a warm window until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down lightly and roll out on a lightly floured surface until a 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough with a 3 inch cookie cutter and place on a cookie sheet

Take the leftover dough and roll into a ball. Place the dough back into the oiled bowl to rise for another 1/2 hour or so. Roll the dough out and repeat the process.

When all the dough has been used let the rounds raise again covered and in a warm place until doubled in size.

Fill a large pot with enough oil until it is 3-4 inches deep. Heat the oil to 340 degrees. Fry the doughnuts until golden brown.

You may use a pastry bag with metal tip to fill the doughnuts with Nutella or just serve Nutella alongside the warm doughnuts and start dipping.

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