• Honey bombolini with vanilla bean custard (Petrina Tinslay)Source: Petrina Tinslay

These doughnuts use a sweet yeast dough made with honey instead of sugar. The honey helps the yeast to prove and gives them a delicious flavour. They are cut into small rounds and once cooked they are rolled in icing sugar and then a slit is cut on the side and filled with custard.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (77 votes)


  • 3 tsp instant dry yeast 
  • 2⅓ cups plain flour and a little extra, for rolling
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • icing sugar, for rolling
  • 1 quantity vanilla bean custard


Vanilla bean custard

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ cup double cream

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Proving time 1½ hours

To make the vanilla bean custard, place the milk and vanilla pod in a medium saucepan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the egg yolks, sugar and flour in a medium bowl and whisk until light and creamy. Gradually drizzle in the hot milk while whisking the egg mixture. Once all of the milk has been added to the egg yolks return to the saucepan over a low heat and stir until the custard has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer for a medium bowl, cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and cool. Once cold fold through the double cream. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and use as required.

To make the doughnuts, place the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and gently mix to combine.

Add the honey, milk and eggs and beat to form a soft dough. With the mixer running drop in the butter, a few cubes at a time and beat until all of the butter has been added and is well combined in the yeast dough. The dough will be soft but should not be so sticky that you can’t roll it out.

Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and allow the dough to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. The dough can be allowed to stand overnight in the refrigerator and you can make fresh doughnuts to order in the morning! The refrigerator slows the proving process.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and give it a light knead. Roll out to 1½ cm thickness and cut approximately 24 rounds of dough with a 3½ cm cutter. Gently reroll the excess dough and cut out more bombolini. Place onto a tray lined with baking paper and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large open pot, I find a wok works well for deep frying and using a thermometer heat the oil to 180˚C (360˚F). Carefully lower the bombolini into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon lift the bombolini from the hot oil and drain on absorbent paper, toss in the icing sugar until well coated.

Cut a slit across the middle of each bombolini and pipe in some of the vanilla bean custard. Sprinkle with extra icing sugar and serve. Best eaten on the day they are made but they can be served the following day.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.