Greatest recipes ever: Jacob Kennedy’s bombe calde

‘Jacob runs Bocca di Lupo in London’s Soho, which turns out exquisite little plates of Italian food. Last year, I made doughnuts to his recipe for a large lunch party, invaded by six children along with all the grown-ups. My husband made the dough before the guests arrived, which then proved over lunch. After the meal, we had the most entertaining couple of hours I can remember, shaping the dough, making chocolate sauces and sugar-coating the doughnuts as they came out of the fryer’

Thomasina Miers

Bombe calde (filled doughnuts)

Extract from Jacob Kennedy’s
Bocca Cookbook
Published by Bloomsbury

Particularly in the summer months, when the evening passeggiata becomes more extended and alcoholic, bars and gelaterie hang out signs proclaiming ‘bombe calde’-‘we have fresh, still-warm filled doughnuts!’. With either chocolate or pastry cream within, bombe calde are large, plump and
giving, well-equipped to absorb that last cocktail or grappa-this nocturnal feast goes on until the early hours when the crowds retire. Although these beauties are always delicious, mine are, I like to think, even better: I use my grandmother Agnes’ recipe for doughnuts, which is by far the best I have ever encountered. And then I fill them with far more of a chocolatey cream than is sensible.

Makes 12-14 large doughnuts


10g dried yeast, or 20g fresh
280ml tepid whole milk
560g plain flour
50g caster sugar
A tiny pinch of salt
8 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons dark rum
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100g unsalted butter, melted


200ml double cream
4 large egg yolks
50g cocoa powder
160g caster sugar
20g cornflour
500ml whole milk
2cm cinnamon stick
120g bitter chocolate, broken into pieces

To cook and serve

Vegetable oil
Icing sugar


Start to make the dough, allowing 3 hours before you wish to fry and serve. First make a yeast sponge, mixing the yeast, half the milk and a tablespoon each of the flour and sugar. Leave it to rise until frothy.

Mix the remaining flour and sugar with the salt in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and in it put the yeast sponge and all the other ingredients except the butter. Work the flour in gradually from the sides to make a sticky dough, which should be very well kneaded.

When glossy and elastic, add the butter, gradually, and work until fully incorporated. Leave the dough to rise, covered, until doubled in bulk, for a bit over an hour. Roll the dough out 12mm-15mm thick on a floured surface, and cut 10cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Dust these very lightly with flour, cover with a light cloth, and leave to rise until doubled in bulk-again, about an hour.

While the doughnuts are rising, make the filling. Whisk together the cream, egg yolks, cocoa, sugar and cornflour to make a thick paste. Bring the milk to the boil with the cinnamon stick for flavour,
and whisk it gradually into the cocoa paste. Return the lot to the pan and, over the lowest flame, bring it to a gentle boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk.

The mixture will thicken suddenly. As soon as it has boiled, take it off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the chocolate until it has melted. Transfer it to a squeezy bottle with a pointed nozzle and keep warm until ready to serve-I stand the bottle in a pan of hot water over the lowest heat.

To cook the doughnuts, fry them in at least 4cm of clean oil at 150˚-160˚C, turning them once when the first side is golden. They will take about 4 minutes on each side at this temperature, necessary to give them time to cook through. Drain them on absorbent paper and fill with a generous slug of chocolate filling from the squeezy bottle. Dust the bombe with icing sugar and serve them warm-there is no point to a cold doughnut.

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