Bonet (or Bunet) is an Italian dessert typical of Piedmont, a region in the north of Italy.
It’s a soft and creamy dessert based on caramel, amaretti and chocolate.
It’s a kind of chocolate budino, but with a creamier texture and a more aromatic taste. Bonet recipe is completely without flour and butter.
It’s made with eggs, sugar, cocoa, milk, rum and dry amaretti cookies. Amaretti are also a typical Piedmontese cookies, often used either as a dessert or, as in this case, as an ingredient for other recipes.
You can use amaretti in the Bonet dessert either crumbled into the mixture or as a decoration, lying on the caramel surface.
The special feature of this recipe is the bain-marie cooking method.
This method serves to firm it up, but at the same time keep it creamy and soft inside.
It’s a very old dessert, deeply rooted in the Piedmontese tradition. Each family jealously guards its own recipe, with some minor variations.
Bonet is also known as “Bonet delle Langhe’, a historical region of Piedmont located between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti.
Besides being delicious and impressive, bonet is also very easy and quick to make, if you follow the right steps and tricks to achieve the real, unique and inimitable Piedmontese dessert: the Bonet.
Here is Italian Bonet, a rich, mouth-watering spoon dessert that is really hard to resist!
- Prep Time: 30 Min
- Cooking Time: 1 Hour
- Cooling Time: about 3 Hours
- Servings: 6
PLEASE NOTE: These are the doses for a 25×11 cm ( 9,5 x 5 inch) plum cake mold
For the Bonet
- 200 g (7 oz) of crispy Amaretti cookies or homemade Amaretti
- 35 g (4 3/2 tablespoons) of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 whole medium eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 500 ml (2 cups) of fresh whole milk
- 150 g (3/4 cup) of granulated sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of Amaretto DISARONNO or Rum
For the Caramel
- 150 g (3/4 cup) of granulated sugar
- 50 ml (3 tablespoons) of water
How to Make Italian Bonet Dessert: Instructions
Step 1) – In a small saucepan, combine 50 ml (3 tablespoons) of water and 150 grams (3/4 cup) of granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve as much of the sugar as possible. Then turn on the heat and bring to a boil without stirring.
Step 2) – From the time it starts boiling, within 2-3 minutes the sugar will start to caramelize. That is, it will begin to color until it takes on the characteristic amber-orange color. When the caramel is ready, pour it into the mold you have chosen and set it aside.
PLEASE NOTE: Be careful not to let it get too dark. You would risk burning it and it would taste too bitter.
Step 3) – In a bowl, place 4 whole medium eggs and 1 egg yolk. Then add 150 g (3/4 cup) of granulated sugar and mix with a whisk.
PLEASE NOTE: MIX very well but DO NOT whisk. The mixture should not contain any air.
Step 4) – Now add 35 g (4 3/2 tablespoons) of unsweetened cocoa powder – sifted through a sieve – and a pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate the cocoa.
Step 5) – Now add 200 g (7 oz) of crumbled crispy Amaretti cookies and 2 tablespoons of Amaretto DISARONNO.
PLEASE NOTE: The traditional recipe calls for crushing the amaretti with your hands. If you want a finer texture, you can use an electric blender and pulverize them.
Step 6) – Now slowly pour in 500 ml (2 cups) of fresh whole milk a little at a time. Keep stirring. Now the mixture for the Bonet is ready.
Pour the mixture into the mold where you put the caramel.
Step 7) – Place the mold in a larger baking dish that can hold it. Pour in very hot water until it reaches about halfway up the mold. This will allow the bonet to bake very gently in a bain-marie. Bake at 160°C (320°F) for about 60 minutes. Check to ensure it’s done with a toothpick. Insert a toothpick into the center of the bonet. If it comes out dry, the bonet is ready.
Step 8) – Allow the bonet to cool completely in the mold, first at room temperature and then for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Once cold, remove from the mold. To make it easier, gently peel the edges of the bonet from the mold with a knife. Then, very quickly, heat the bottom of the mold on the stove. This will soften the caramel that has hardened as it cooled.
Step 9) – Turn the bonet upside down on a serving dish. Cover it completely with the caramel. Finally, according to tradition, decorate with whole and/or crushed amaretti cookies.
Try this recipe for Bonet! Like a chocolate pudding but with an extra twist!
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How to Store Bonet
You can store the Bonet in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
If you have already removed it from the mold and want to store it for the next day, cover it with plastic wrap. This prevents an unpleasant film from forming on the surface.
We also recommend that you decorate the bonet with amaretti cookies at the time of serving, otherwise they will become soft and soggy.
We don’t recommend freezing.
Bonet alla Monferrina, a Variation
The most famous variant of the classic Bonet recipe is “Bonet alla Monferrina”.
This is actually the original and oldest version of Bonet. The cocoa version, which is the most common today, came after the importation of chocolate in Europe.
In Piedmont, and especially in Monferrato (a historical region of Piedmont, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Alessandria and Asti), this version is still widespread and popular.
The recipe and the method are exactly the same. Many add vanilla flavoring and half a dose of milk and half of cream. Caramel and amaretti are still the main ingredients.
Bonet Recipe: What Liquor Substitutes for Amaretto Disaronno?
Amaretto Disaronno liqueur is often replaced by Rum or Fernet Branca.
Someone also often uses Marsala liqueur to flavor Bonet.
A popular variation is to add a cup of espresso and flavor with coffee liqueur.
Amaretti, Crumbled or Whole in Bonet?
The authentic Italian recipe for bonet calls for crumbling the amaretti cookies with your hands – or the bottom of a cup – and adding them to the mixture.
If you prefer a finer, more refined texture, you can grind them very finely with an electric mixer.
Use the whole amaretti as decoration before serving.
Bonet Dessert: History
The origins of bonet are very ancient and seem to date back to the 13th century.
At that time, this dessert was prepared for noble banquets and very important occasions.
Originally, the recipe did not include the use of chocolate.
Cocoa appeared in the Bonet recipe only later, when it was introduced to Europe in the 17th century after the discovery of America.
The original version is called “Bonet alla Monferrina”, often called “Bonet Bianco” (white) precisely because it does not contain chocolate. Today it’s not very common and almost completely replaced by the one with cocoa.
Origins of the Name “Bonet”
But what does “bonèt” or “bunèt” mean?
The origin of this particular name has been debated by many, and even today there is no certain interpretation.
According to the Piedmontese dictionary of 1859, the term “bonèt” refers to a specific rounded hat. The shape of this hat was similar to that of the mold in which the pudding was cooked.
This copper mold was called “bonèt ëd cusin-a”, which means “kitchen hat” or “cook’s hat”.
But there is another hypothesis about the origin of the name “bonet”.
Some think that the reference to the hat comes from the fact that bonet was served as the last thing at the end of the meal.
Just like the hat, which is the last garment we put on before leaving the house. The bonet served as a “hat” for everything that was eaten!