This Piemontese treat is less known than other Italian desserts like tiramisu or panna cotta, and I think that’s a bit of a shame. Maybe because the name does not sound Italian at all? It did originate 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 :-).
Admittedly, I only discovered bonet recently, just last summer to be exact. We stayed for a few days in Torino and 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 listening to them. 🙂
It is made of sugar, eggs, milk, amaretti, and rum. Aside from the caramel, you just mix everything and then cook it bain-marie style. It is unbelievably easy for such an elegant looking and rich dessert.
When I make it, I prefer to push the caramel almost on the verge of burning. I feel that the slight bitterness of the dark caramel goes so well with the sweetness and richness of the custard.
I also tried replacing the rum with amaretto, and it came out surprising good as well. However, the traditional version uses rum and if it’s a dark rum, its taste is almost like the caramel (but with alcohol, of course :-)).
Give this a try!
- 50 ml water
- 300 grams sugar (200 grams for the caramel and 100 grams for the mixture)
- 6 eggs
- 500 ml milk
- 70 grams crushed amaretti (20 grams more for serving, optional)
- 35 grams dark cocoa
- 3 tbsp rum
Heat up the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Start by making the caramel. Put the sugar and water in a pan and put in medium low heat. Once the sugar has melted and the liquid is starting to darken, shake the pan gently. This will prevent the caramel from sticking in the pan.
When the caramel is ready, pour it in the molds and set aside.
Warm up the milk and mix the cocoa powder. Make sure there are no lumps. No need to boil the milk, just heat it up to melt the cocoa powder.
Combine the eggs and the sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add the milk with the cocoa, then the crushed amaretti, last the rum. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Pour the mixture in the prepared molds. The caramel at the bottom would be hard by now. Only fill up to ¾ of the mold.
Put the molds in a roasting pan and fill about half of the pan with warm water (not boiling water!).
Put in the oven for 25 minutes or 55 minutes (depending on the size of the molds).
The custard would be ready when the center is still jiggly, but the sides are already quite firm. Set aside to cool down.
Once properly cooled, put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set.
To serve, transfer the bonet from the mold into a plate. Sprinkle with crushed amaretti, if desired.
- I used the medium ramekins in this recipe and I cooked it for 55 minutes. If you are using the small ramekins, 25 minutes is enough.
- Make sure the water in the roasting pan does not boil. If it does, lower the temperature of the oven.
- Adapted from 'siamodonne.it'