Italian Chocolate Custard (Piedmontese Bonet)

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Have you ever heard about Piedmontese Bonet? Well it is time to get to know this delicacy from the North of Italy, Piedmont, notably. Once tasted, you won’y forget it! Nothing says autumn like this soft dessert.

What is Bonet  (also called Bunet)?

It looks like a creme caramel, yet it so different. It is made of cocoa powder and crushed amaretti biscuits which make it pleasantly crunchy, consistent, and soft at the same time. As the creme caramel it is cooked in a bain marie.

It dates back to old times, when grannies wisely used to prepare and cook it in wood ovens. At the end of the day, when no more wood was put into the oven, the left fading heat cooked Bonet slowly overnight until it got consistent. It was served cold the following day. It used to be served at the end of a special  meal.

It is a soft dessert (in Italian we call it “dolce al cucchiaio because you need a dessert spoon to eat it) made of a few simple ingredients: amaretti biscuits (I’ll give you the recipe to make them) cocoa powder, milk, eggs, and caramel. My husband, who likes simple rustic tastes, does adore it. I learn to cook Bonet when I attended a pastry course, and it has become my strong point since  then.

All the ingredients are easily available in any shops or supermarkets:

  • Milk: whole and organic one will guarantee a soft embracing taste; skimmed milk does not fit much.
  • White caster sugar. I have tried brown sugar, but it gave a too bitter taste.
  • Eggs: they must be high quality and very fresh. I prefer L size to medium or small ones.
  • Cocoa powder: unsweetened cocoa powder best fits this recipe which is already sweet on its own.
  • Amaretti are light crunchy almonds biscuits.
  • Rum; the sweetish and non-persistent flavor of this liquor enhances the taste of Bonet. However, once I forgot it and Bonet was delicious. 
  • Caramel is also available ready are at the supermarket, if you do not want to make it yourself. The whole preparation time will be shorter.

Italian Chocolate Custard - Piedmontese Bonet

Do you fancy a genuine dessert from Piedmont? It is really delicious! I really want to share a little secret I learnt when I attended a pastry course.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bonet, bunet, Italian Chocolate Custard, Piedmontese Bonet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

For the dessert

  • half a liter Whole milk
  • 125 gr Sugar
  • 200 gr Eggs
  • 50 gr Cocoa powder
  • 100 gr Amaretti biscuits
  • 10 gr Rhum

For the caramel

  • 150 gr Sugar
  • 50 gr Water
  • 1 tbsp Glucose o Honey

Instructions

  • First prepare the caramel: in a heavy solid pot put sugar water and glucose (or honey). Cook sugar and water on medium heat util sugar has melted. Do not stir but swirl the pot. Remove from the heat and pour into one big mould, or in single-servings moulds. 
  • Heat milk.
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until lighten and fluffy, then add the cocoa powder and stir in the crumbled amaretti biscuits. 
  • Pour in warm milk and stir slowly then pour the mixture into the mould. 
  • Pre-heat the oven at 150°C (302°F) and prepare the Bain Marie; cook for about 40-45 minutes. If you use single-serving moulds, reduce the cooking time to 25-30 minutes. 
  • Test if Bonet is evenly cooked- insert a toothpick into the whole depth of there dessert: there must not be any soft uncooked parts. It must be quite consistent. If it is not so, go on cooking;
  • Set aside to cool and then pull it out on a serving plate; it is not an easy operation: run a thin knife around the edge of the mould; place the serving dish on top of the mould and turn upside down with a rapid movement. Choose a serving dish with sides because the liquid caramel will pour out: it is the typical toothsome “sauce” which enhances the flavor of this delicacy. 
  • Garnish with a little whipped cream to taste and a generous handful of crumbled amaretti biscuits. 

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