February 4, 2019

For you to taste this crazy tasting bitesize Portuguese donuts you have two options.

• Either you go to Portugal right away and try them in one of the pastry shops
• Or you make them by following the recipe that you’ll find below.

While I was living in Portugal I was going crazy about these donuts (they are calling them Bola de Berlim). They are so delicious that I decided to make them at home for this year’s carnival. I think they even beat the regular festive donuts that I made by my grandma’s recipe.

For those that want to know more, I asked one of the donuts to introduce itself. Here it goes.

Hey, tiny Portuguese donut! Tell us about yourself

🍩 Gustavo: Hi, everyone! My name is Gustavo I don’t have too much time, as I have to go to work early in the morning so I will be brief.

We are a gang from Portugal (we run by the name Bola de Berlim) and we are known as one of the most delicious pastries in the world (they put us in Top 10 Portuguese pastries). Our job is tough but rather delightful I must say. As soon as we are baked they transfer us to our Makeup department where they stuff us with some sweet vanilla cream and sprinkle us with some sugar coating - this makes us look cute as hell. Once we are done with it, we look more or less like Katy Perry and we are ready to go.

From here on we begin with our main mission - position ourselves on every corner of the street, breach inside the pastry shops (we call them Pastelaria) and sneak inside the section for desserts. I always parked close to my sweet sweet friends from the family of Pastel de Nata. We enjoy hanging out together.

Oh, sorry. Back to our mission. Now that we fit our buts nicely inside the food display, we finally have a chance to meet with our main targets. We all stare vigorously at them with our big puppy eyes until they can’t resist anymore and take us.

We are usually bought by one of the two types of people. In the morning there are some nice local people that come in for a cup of coffee, and later in the day, we have another group that we called tourists. Man, I must tell you, they are crazy when they see us.

I must admit, I still prefer to be chosen by one of the locals. I just like watching them slowly waking up, reading the newspaper and sipping their morning coffee.

And then we are DONE! People ate us and the next day we are revived to get another chance to repeat this hell of a ride.

Oh, I forgot to tell you something. Did I tell you about my donut friend from Slovenia? I had a chance to met him on our Sweet book social network. His name is Karl and he’s from Slovenia (here you have a recipe to make them), his roots are from Germany from the well known Berliner family.

Ok Gustavo, but what makes you special?

🍩 Gustavo: Oh, I was just about to go. Here I give you 3 good reasons why you must try us out:

  1. We are made from the very best dough. I take 2 hours for us to rise, which makes our dough unbelievably soft.
  2. On the inside, we are packed with well-known cream (called crème pâtissière) that is the basis for most of our national pastries.
  3. And after all, what would we be without our sugar coating that makes our crust sweet and crunchy.

That’s it. I hate to be late for my morning shift, so I better get going. It was nice to talk to you and see you soon in Portugal. Tchau!


For the cream

50 ml
2 tsp
vanilla extract (use less if you extract flavor is very strong)
egg yolks
220 g
65 g
corn starch
2 tbsp

For the donuts

250 g
bread flour
270 g
all-purpose flour (put two tablespoons of it aside for the yeast)
75 g
100 g
20 g
7 g
egg yolks
120 ml
warm water
1 tsp
vanilla extract

For sugar coating

100 g
1 tsp


  • 1. 

    For the vanilla cream

    Heat the milk and vanilla sugar in a small pot until it starts to boil. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  • 2. 

    In a bowl mix well egg yolks and sugar. Add corn starch and mix well again.

  • 3. 

    Mix milk in the egg mixture.

  • 4. 

    Put all of it trough strainer back to the pot and put on heat. Start cooking it so it becomes thick. Mix all the time.

  • 5. 

    Set away from the fire and mix in the butter.


  • 6. 

    For the donuts

    Mix together: warm water (around 40ºC | 104ºF), yeast, tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of flour and set to a warm place so yeast can activate.

  • 7. 

    Put all the ingreadients in a bowl and mix with electric mixer (with hooks for dough). It will take around 10 minutes.

  • 8. 

    If the dough is too sticky add flour. After 10 minutes knead it with your hands, put it in a bowl, oil it up, cover with foil and set in a warm place until it rises.

  • 9. 

    Meanwhile prepare your surface where you will put your donuts-to-be and sprinkle it with flour.

  • 10. 

    When the dough rises form 30 g heavy balls and make them smooth. Place them on floured surface and cover with plastic foil. Leave them to rise for 1 hour or even more.

  • 11. 

    Check if the balls have risen well. They should look puffy.

  • 12. 

    Once they have risen, you heat around 3 fingers of oil in a pot and fly them 3 minutes covered on one side and 3 minutes uncovered on the other side. Use very low heat.

  • 13. 

    Place baked donuts on a paper towel and immediately roll them in sugar-cinnamon mixture.

  • 14. 

    Final touches

    When they are all fried use scissors or a knife to cut them almost in half.

    Put the cream in a piping bag and pipe it generously inside donuts.

wise-ass corner

Usually they are made bigger but I choose to make them tiny as it gives them their own special charm 🙂 You’ll see how adorable they are when they will be looking from the plate.

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