For the starter: Heat the milk up slightly so that it is just warm to the touch and pour into a bowl.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk and then mix in the flour. The dough will be quite thick.
Cover the bowl with plastic and let it sit in at room temperature for about an hour.
For the dough: Scrape the starter dough in the bowl of a mixer.
Add the eggs, butter, sugar, salt and flour and mix with your hands or spatula until the ingredients are loosely incorporated. This is messy and again the dough will be rather thick.
Mix on low with the paddle attachment until the dough is silky and shiny. This will take at least 5 to 7 minutes and you will need to scrape down the bowl several times at first.
Scrape the dough off the paddle attachment and form into a rough ball inside the mixer bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough.
For the bombolino: With slightly floured fingers, using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dough, flatten the dough into a small disk about 1/4-inch thick.
Place about 1 teaspoon of the cheese in the center and wrap the dough around the cheese. Pinch the dough together so that it sticks together and then roll the dough into a small ball. It is very important to make sure the dough is seamless, so that when it cooks no melted cheese escapes. Repeat until you have as many bombolino as you have salads. You will have excess dough.
Heat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F, or heat up 2 inches of oil in a high-sided heavy-bottomed pan. Make sure the oil does not come up past the half way point of the pan.
Frying bombolino, only a few at a time for about 2 to 4 minutes, until golden brown all the way around. You might have to turn them over as they do tend to float.
Drain on a paper towel and eat while warm.
For the almond butter: Place almonds and garlic in a food processor and puree until smooth, scrape down the sides of the processor as necessary. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil as needed. Be very careful about how much oil to add as the almonds will get smoother the more they are processed. Use only as much as needed to achieve a smooth but thick almond paste.
Season with cayenne pepper and salt, to taste.
Place in a container. Will last refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reseason as needed.
For the beet salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim tops and tails of beets and wash.
Place in roasting pan and add enough water to pan so that it reaches half up the side of the beets. Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven. Check doneness after about 45 minutes. If a pairing knife is able to penetrate the beet very easily, the beets are cooked. Check a few to make sure. If they not ready, recover with foil and place back in oven. Check in 15 minute increments.
Remove from oven and remove foil. Let them sit until they reach room temperature. Do not discard the water.
Using a kitchen towel (that you are not afraid to get really messy), peel the skin off the beets. The skin should wipe off very easily. To get off any little pieces of skin you might have missed, rinse in the water they were cooked in. Once all the beets are peeled, discard skins and the water they were cooked in.
Cut beets in quarters or thirds, depending on their size and your preference.
Mix gingerly with shallots, chives, oil and vinegar.
To plate: Smooth about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the almond butter on the plate. Place about 1/2 cup of the beet salad onto the almond butter. Place a freshly fried bombolino on top of the beets and season with a touch of fleur de sel.
Recipe courtesy of Holly Smith