I’ve always struggled with birthday cake. I’m not that great a fan of cake in general, so the idea that I can have a special cake to mark the day of my birth doesn’t really appeal. As a child I was able to convince my mother that a birthday pie was appropriate. My birthday is around Halloween, so it wasn’t that hard to convince her that an apple pie would be just fine.
Unfortunately I never learned how to make pastry, so I really struggle to make pie. A problem here in Australia, where the go to lunch is a meat pie or sausage roll. Essentially it’s a bunch of leftovers wrapped in pastry. So very moorish and satisfying.
For my birthday this year Stuart got me a pastry making class. No, this isn’t like “Here’s a vacuum sweetie.” type present. I asked for the class. Sure, I could continue to rely on frozen pastry dough, but this is something that I wanted to learn how to do. It’s this Sunday and I’m very excited, so I’ll be posting on my Instagram feed and will write it up for the blog very soon.
Now, back to birthday cake and bomboloni. The problem is Stuart thinks I need some special treat to celebrate. When the kids were at home I would get an ice cream cake because who doesn’t love ice cream cake and it was something they could buy. It was also Migraine-friendly from our local ice cream cafe. I mostly did it for the kids. Now it’s just the two of us, so what shall we have as a treat.
Besides pie, I love a fresh doughnut. Puffy little balls of fried dough with just enough sugar to feel indulged. Did you know that there are 17 different types of doughnuts in Italy alone. No, I’m not talking about jam vs chocolate glazed. It’s different styles of fried, sweet dough. Fried dough has global appeal.
So here’s my present to you, bombolini. Enjoy my friends.
Bomboloni: Lemon Ricotta Doughnut
Bomboloni-lusciously light lemon mouthfuls of bliss.
Required skills: egg breaking with no shells in the bowl; using a deep fryer without burning the house down.
You need a very dry ricotta, sometimes known as deli style. The brand I use comes in 250 gm portions, so I just use half. If you only have the smooth, tub type of ricotta, you will need to set it in a sieve and let the water drain out overnight in the refrigerator. To make these extra fluffy I add additional baking powder to self rising flour, plus the bubbles from Appletizer to give it an extra lift rather than the traditional migraine-triggering prosecco. Be sure and use fresh oil as you don’t want to impart any flavours from previously cook food. I save the oil in a jar marked doughnuts to be used again and again.
- 125 grams deli style ricotta, crumbled into a mixing bowl
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup self rising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100 ml (5 tbsp) Appletizer or other preservative free sparkling apple juice
- Icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) for dusting
- Deep fryer and fresh canola oil or a deep saucepan on the stove can work
- Slotted spoon
- Paper towels for draining
- Preheat your deep fryer to 160C (320F). This is level 8 on my Sunbeam deep fryer. You want to fry these at a lower heat to ensure that the insides are cooked through before they become too brown.
- Cream the ricotta and egg. It’s ok if there are still some tiny lumps of ricotta. It won’t be cheesecake smooth.
- Cream in the sugar and lemon zest.
- Mix through the self rising flour and baking powder.
- Fold through the Appletizer.
- Drop dessert spoon blobs into the oil. They will take 5-7 minutes to cook. You will need to spin them as they will float so that both sides cook. Remove with your slotted spoon to a bowl lined with paper towels.
- Allow to cool slightly before lightly dusting with icing sugar.
- Best eaten warm.
So my friends, what do you like as a special treat on your birthday?
Informed by science, cooked by you.