Bonet - a delicious dessert from Piedmont

If you love chocolate, you have to try it!

As you know, Italy has 20 regions and what is surprising is that each region, as well as each town, has its own typical dishes and specialty made with its local ingredients. Thus, you can imagine how many delicacies there are! Today’s cooking specialty comes from northern Italy, and more precisely from Piedmont, in north-west Italy. Being very famous for its amaretti cookies, we will dive into the past by finding out the history and recipe of a much appreciated spoon dessert made with amaretti. Its name is Bonet.

Where does the word "Bonet" come from?

As in the past Piedmont was ruled by French people, the word Bonet clearly sounds and actually comes from the French “bonnet” that means hat. There are two explanations to this name. The first and more accredited is the one that claims that this dessert was named after the copper mould where it was cooked, whose shape was that of a chef’s hat. But nowadays, if you ask Piedmontese people why it is so called, they will state that as hat is the last thing to be worn to go back home (most probably after a Sunday rich meal), this dessert is the last thing to be eaten at the end of a meal.

Bonet, a dessert from Piedmont.

Image by daggy72, published under Creative Commons license.

The Bonet in the beginning

The Bonet recipe followed the classical principles of a crème caramel dessert, where there was no trace of chocolate in it. This was called “bonet alla monferrina” only made with eggs, milk, sugar and amaretti cookies. Nowadays, we can say that everybody knows the modern version of it with chocolate and rhum, but it spread later only when cocoa and rhum, two typical tropical products, were discovered in America and brought to Europe.

How to make a great Bonet

You don’t need to be an expert in sweet making to prepare the bonet. It is less difficult than making a cake and, if you prepare it for a meal with friends, they will surely be impressed! Here’s the ingredients (for 8 people):

  • 700 gr cow’s milk;
  • 180 gr eggs (yes, you need to weight them as their weight can vary according to their size);
  • 100 gr amaretti cookies;
  • 140 gr white sugar;
  • 20 gr cocoa powder;
  • 20 gr rhum.

For the caramel:

  • sugar;
  • a tbsp water.

Preparation of the Bonet

Start with crashing amaretti in a blender, then add 100 gr of sugar and the cocoa powder. In a bowl, beat eggs powerfully until they turn into a cream of a dense consistency. Add the amaretti, sugar and cocoa mixture going on whisking thoroughly in order to avoid lumps. Finally, add rhum.

Put the left 40 gr of sugar in a casserole and let it melt on a low flame. Do not ABSOLUTELY stir! Only when sugar is completely melt, add a tablespoon of boiling water and leave it on the heat until the caramel has a deep brown colour.

Pour the caramel into the bonet mould so that it coats both the bottom and the sides. You have to make sure that mould is neither hot nor cold, but warm. If it was hot, it wouldn’t make the caramel stick to its sides; if cold, the caramel would solidify. Finally, put the mould in a tray that you have filled with water up to 2/3 of it, put it at the bottom of your oven and let it cook bain-marie style at 180°C for 45 minutes (always check, because cooking time can vary according to the power of your oven). Make sure the water doesn’t boil!

After cooking, let it cool in the mould and then put it in the fridge. When you pull it out, putting the mould in hot water for a bit could be of help.

You can put some amaretti on it to decorate.

Bonet variations

As Piedmont is also famous for its hazelnuts, some people use hazelnut biscuits instead of amaretti, and to avoid alcohol, coffee or zest are used to replace the rhum. What else to say apart from trying to make it and, above all, enjoying its rich taste and soft, creamy texture!

Sources - Bonet - Bonet - Bonet (typical sweet from Piedmont) - Un dolce piemontese: il bunet! - Il Bonet, tradizionale dolce piemontese - Il Bonet

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