You can make these with or without the cream filling. Either way, they are hard to resist
The Pastry Cream
Place half the sugar in a mixing bowl and mix with the
cornstarch. Slowly add the eggs and yolks and mix until allisincorporated.
Bring milk, cream, the rest of the sugar and scrapedvanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Add half the hotliquid to the yolk mixture. Place this back into the rest of the cream and place over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil whilewhiskingvery fast. The pastry cream should be a little thick. Whisk for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat and thentransferto a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator before piping into Castagnoles.
Mix the dry ingredients together, except the zest, and sieve them together into a bowl. Add eggs, rum butter and zest and mix till you have a soft smooth dough. Knead for a few minutes. Cutting a piece of dough at a time, roll the dough toform 2 cm thick cylinders.Cut the cylinders in pieces of the size of a large cherry and roll them between your hands to form little balls.
Meanwhile start heatingthe oil, in a fryer if or into a deep pot. The oil is ready when it reaches between 300˚F and 350˚F. If the oil is too hot, they will brown too quickly leaving the center half cooked. Once the oil is ready fry a few Castagnole at a time until golden brown and puffed up.
Remove cooked ones with a slotted spoon. Drain on papertowels and let cool. Dust with confectionersí sugar. Fill apastry bag fitted with a round tube with the pastry cream. Pipe a small amount into the center.