Ricotta filled, orange scented doughnuts
2nd January 2016

Ricotta filled, orange scented doughnuts

By Lauren Photography by Kurt

Almost two years ago now, while travelling around southern Italy for a few weeks, we happened upon a small café in the town square of Catania, Sicily, with a counter stacked high with sweet treats. Choosing to forgo the famous cannoli, I bought the biggest doughnut I could find, and with my limited Italian didn’t realise until I bit into it that it was filled with this sweet, fragrant orange ricotta crème. Heaven!  It’s been in the back of my mind to recreate this experience ever since.

My interpretation are palm-sized and generously filled.  Light and fluffy, and sweetly scented, they require a little patience to create (two rounds of proofing), but are really rather simple to make. I made use of the very efficient stand mixers we have here in the cooking lab, but you could equally knead the dough by hand.



Makes approx 20 doughnuts
  • Doughnuts
  • 300g flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 16g (2 sachets) active dried yeast
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Filling
  • 200g Ricotta
  • 50g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest and juice ½ orange
  • Zest ½ lemon


      • Doughnuts
      • 1. Sieve flour, caster sugar and salt into bowl of stand mixer.
      • 2. In a separate bowl whisk together melted butter, milk, egg, yeast, vanilla and orange zest. It will be a little lumpy, that’s ok.
      • 3. Use dough hook and with mixer running slowly, add the wet ingredients to the dry.
      • 4. Turn speed up to medium and mix for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
      • 5. Turn the dough out onto a clean bench, shape into a ball and place in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to proof in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
      • 6. One risen, turn dough out onto clean, floured bench and roll out to 1 cm thick.
      • 7. Use a cookie or pastry cutter to cut rounds approx. 7 cm in diameter. Transfer to a lined tray, cover and leave to proof again for 1-2 hours until well risen.
      • 8. Heat 5-6 cm of oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Use a piece of leftover dough to test the oil – when dropped in, the dough should float and bubble rapidly.
      • 9. Fry for just a minute or so each side (turning once), until deep golden and well puffed. Drain on paper towels.
      • 10. Allow doughnuts to cool, split in half and fill with a generous spoonful of ricotta filling.
      • 11. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.
      • Filling
      • Place all ingredients into bowl of mixer and whip until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved.
      • Refrigerate until required.


        1. Paul

          Was just there this Fall and know exactly the cafe on.the Square! I agree, divine treats. Thanks for posting this recipe.

        2. Lauren

          Hi Paul, Hope you had an amazing time! Such a special part of the world :) Let us know if you give the recipe a try!

        3. Sue Mitchell

          Like the idea of shaping with a cutter…another recipe to try…I do make doughnuts some weekends!

        4. Lauren

          A weekend with doughnuts is a good weekend in my books Sue – do let us know how you go with the recipe!

        5. KIM

          Sounds divine. May have to convert this to a Thermomix version

        6. Lauren

          Thanks Kim! Do let us know how you go with a Thermomix version. Happy baking:)

        7. Alton

          Sounds scrumptious. Anxious to try. My family will enjoy this.

        8. Chip

          WOULD BE GREAT: Post all measurements in American to us US measures. All of us are not users of the metric system.

        9. Lauren

          Hi Chip,
          Thanks for your feedback! As we are based down in New Zealand, we create our recipes in metric but we are currently working on adding imperial conversions. In the meantime, I find this site is really useful: http://www.traditionaloven.com/foods/multi-units-converter/cheese-ricotta-whole-milk.html
          For this recipe, conversations are as follows:
          Dough: 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup caster sugar, 1/2 stick butter, 2/3 cup milk, 2 tbsp active dried yeast
          Filling: 7 oz ricotta, 1/4 cup caster sugar
          Happy Baking,

        10. Jennifer Essad

          these look so light and airy, I’m anxious to try your recipe. The ricotta filling is perfect for other desserts too. PS. I really think Fisher Paykel should offer us a printed recipe book don’t you?

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