Goat Cheese

Goat Cheese and Lemon Curd Bombolini

June 26, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Sarah Vasil. Food Stylist: Ericka Martins.
  • Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes 24 to 30 bombolini
Author Notes

I was first introduced to sugar-crusted, lemon-scented, perfect-with-an-espresso bombolini on a family trip to Italy. For my take on these divine doughnuts, I was inspired by the common Italian use of cheese in sweet preparations (think: cannoli, tiramisu, and the like). Vermont Creamery’s Classic Fresh Goat Cheese lends itself perfectly as the base for a light, tangy filling that’s complemented by a swirl of lemon curd (store-bought is 100 percent approved here). These pillowy treats hum with the bright taste of lemon, and the satisfying bite of a just-fried donut. You’ll need to wait for them to cool before you fill them—but if one happens to disappear before then, I won’t blame you. —Anna Billingskog

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Vermont Creamery. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) room-temperature whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons (11 grams) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (426 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (½ gram) freshly grated nutmeg
  • large egg
  • Teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) Vermont Creamery Unsalted Cultured Butter, softened
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • For the lemon sugar:
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • For the filling:
  • 2 (4-ounce) packages Vermont Creamery Classic Fresh Goat Cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons (25 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 ounces prepared lemon curd (store-bought or homemade)
  1. Prepare a large bowl by wiping it lightly with neutral oil. Set aside.
  2. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the milk and 2 tablespoons sugar and briskly mix to dissolve the sugar. Turn the mixer off and sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the milk. Mix gently, then let stand a few moments until you see bubbles form—this is how you’ll know the yeast is working.
  3. In the meantime, sift together both flours, the remaining sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Tip the dry ingredients into the yeast-milk mixture and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment once again. After about 30 seconds, you should see a shaggy dough form. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Let the mixer run until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and add the butter one tablespoon piece at a time, mixing to incorporate for a few seconds after each addition. Switch from the paddle to the dough hook attachment. Mix on medium again for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is smooth (it should be slightly sticky and beginning to pull away from the sides of the bowl).
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and give it a few finishing kneads with the heels of your hands. Shape into a ball and place in the large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Once the dough has finished its first rise, you have a choice to make: Will you go the faster, still tasty route or the slower, even tastier route? If going the slow route, punch the dough down, form into a ball, cover, and transfer to the fridge for a second overnight proof. This will develop extra flavor and excellent texture in the finished doughnuts. If donuts now are a must, skip that second rise and head straight into cutting and frying the bombolini.
  7. Either the next day after your second proof, or immediately after the first proof, prepare a sheet pan with parchment and a light dusting of flour. Line a second sheet pan with paper towels on the bottom and place a wire cooling rack on top.
  8. Make the lemon sugar: In a medium bowl (a little larger than you think you’ll need), use the tips of your fingers to mix the sugar, lemon zest, and salt until thoroughly combined (the lemon zest will be extra fragrant). Set this aside—you’ll be tossing the warm bombolini in here after frying.
  9. Tip your dough out onto a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough to about ½-inch thick. Lightly flour a 2-inch circular cookie cutter to prevent sticking, then cut as many bombolini as you can. Transfer the cut bombolini to the floured sheet pan. You may re-roll the scraps once to get a few more bombolini out of the batch. (Note that the re-rolled bombolini will not be as puffed as the first batch, but still very delicious.) If your dough proved a second time overnight, roll and cut the bombolini, then cove
  10. In a heavy-bottomed pot like a dutch oven, warm at least 2 inches of oil to 375°F (use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature). Using a slotted spoon or spider, lower the bombolini into the hot oil, frying about three at a time or as many will fit comfortably without crowding the pot. Fry for two minutes, turning the bombolini every 30 seconds or so to get an even brown color all around. When they are deeply golden-brown, remove from the oil and transfer to the cooling rack.
  11. While the bombolini are still warm, roll each one in the lemon sugar. Once sugar-coated, use a paring knife, chopstick, or piping tip to poke a small hole in the side where the filling will go.
  12. Make the filling: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the Vermont Creamery Fresh Classic Goat Cheese and confectioners’ sugar, then mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 to 4 minutes). Scrape down the sides, then, while the mixer is running, slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth. This should be the consistency of a classic cake frosting.
  13. Assemble a piping bag and piping tip, twisting the bag just above the tip to keep your filling from leaking out while filling the bag. Place the entire bag upright in a tall cup or pitcher so you have your hands free to fill the bag. Using a long spoon, spoon goat cheese mixture into the piping bag, keeping it to one side as best you can. Fill the other side of the piping bag with the lemon curd, keeping the divide as even as possible. You should have two stripes of each running up the piping bag. It will not be perfect, but the idea is to get a little taste of each filling in every bite. If desired, transfer the assembled piping bag to the fridge for up to 2 hours.
  14. Fill the bombolini: Once the bombolini are cool enough to handle, fill each one by inserting the tip of the piping bag into the pre-cut hole, using slow and even pressure on the bag. For the first few bombolini, you may find that some filling spills out when you remove the tip—don’t worry about it! Adjust the pressure and amount of filling accordingly and enjoy the extra as a chef’s treat.
  15. Eat the filled bombolini right away. If making ahead of time, keep the bombolini and filling separate until you’re about to eat. Do not fill them more than 2 hours before you plan to eat them.

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