An authentic North Italian dessert, ‘Bonet alla Piemontese’ (Italian Chocolate Custard) will surely impress your friends. A perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors in every spoonful – it’s not that hard to prepare, it just looks like it!
This Piemontese treat is less known than other Italian desserts like tiramisu or pannacotta, and I think that’s a bit of a shame. Maybe because the name does not sound Italian at all?
It originated from the French word ‘bonnet’, meaning hat. Apparently, it was because they used to be cooked in molds that are shaped like hats, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
We discovered this Italian dessert back in 2016, when we stayed for a few days in Torino (Turin). We almost did not try it, because we were just focusing on the wines. (Who wouldn’t if you were in Piemonte?!).
We started chatting with a couple of local diners and they insisted that if we want an authentic Piemontese dessert, then we should try ‘bonet’. Suffice it to say, we were not sorry for taking their advice. 🙂
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN CHOCOLATE CUSTARD (BONET ALLA PIEMONTESE)
This custard dessert is made of sugar, eggs, milk, cocoa powder, amaretti cookies, and rum.
Other than keeping an eye on the caramel, you just need to mix the remaining ingredients and then cook it bain-marie style. No sweat.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE SOMETHING ELSE FOR RUM IN THIS CHOCOLATE CUSTARD?
Traditionally, it’s only rum. But that did not stop me from using amaretto a couple of times, and I was happy with that result as well.
I suppose if you want to make it kid-friendly, you can skip the liquor and add some vanilla or almond extract instead. I have not tried this though.
ARE THERE ANY VARIATIONS FOR THIS PIEMONTESE DESSERT?
I’ve tried one with coffee, and up to this day, I am not sure which one I prefer. 😉
If you are going to try this combo, I suggest you add a bit more sugar – otherwise, it will be too bitter.
HOW FINE DO I NEED TO CRUSH THE AMARETTI COOKIES FOR THIS ITALIAN DESSERT?
Personally, I prefer not to crush them into powdery form. I like it better when I see bits of the amaretti cookies in the chocolate flan.
Not to mention, this is how I’ve always had them in Torino. 🙂
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT FORM FOR THIS CHOCOLATE FLAN?
Absolutely. I opted to use a ramekin because it’s easier for me to turn it over, when serving the custard.
Some people use a rectangular ceramic and just slice the custard when it’s time for serving.
TIPS ON MAKING BONET ALLA PIEMONTESE:
- If you have your own way of making caramel, feel free to do that. This is how I’ve always prepared mine.
- It is completely up to you on how far you want to push your caramel.
- This recipe tends to be on the bitter (less sweet) side, so adjust it accordingly if you have a sweet tooth.
- I use medium-sized ramekins for this recipe. If you are using the smaller (or bigger) ones, you need to make sure you adjust the cooking time.
- For easier serving, place the ramekin in hot water for a minute, use a spatula along the sides and then flip it on a serving plate.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH ITALIAN CHOCOLATE FLAN?
Coffee or dessert wine (I did tell you it’s not a dessert for kids, right?). My husband prefers not to have anything else with it – apparently, it ruins the richness of the custard for him (?!).
Either way, give it a try and if you’re not sure, pair it with your favorite drink! 🙂
FOR OTHER ITALIAN DESSERTS, CHECK OUT THESE OTHER POSTS –
OR IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE DESSERT IDEAS, THEN CHECK OUT MY DESSERTS COLLECTION!
Italian Chocolate Custard (Bonet alla Piemontese)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tbsp sugar, heaping
- 1/4 cup amaretti cookies, crushed (plus more for garnish)
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp rum
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Mix until sugar has been dissolved.
- Place saucepan over medium-low heat, until the color has darkened. (I leave this to you on how intense you want your caramel to be).
- Pour the caramel on each ramekin.
- Set ramekins aside.
- Using a small saucepan, heat up milk and cocoa powder. Make sure cocoa powder has completely dissolved. Do NOT boil the milk. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium to large bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Mix.
- Add cooled milk mixture and the crushed amaretti cookies. Mix.
- Add rum. Mix.
- Pour the mixture on the ramekins. (The caramel should be hard at this point.) Make sure that the ramekins are place on a baking tray.
- Pour water on the baking tray at about half of the ramekins. Make sure the water does not boil while in the oven. If it does, lower the temperature.
- Place baking tray in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes. (The middle of the custard should still be slightly jiggly when you take them out of the oven).
- Set aside to cool.
- Once properly cooled, cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, run a spatula on the side of the ramekin and flip into a serving plate.
- Serve. Garnish (or sprinkle) with more crushed amaretti cookies.
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