bunét – it is a typical italian dessert from a region called piemonte, a northern part of italy bordering france. it is almond flavoured chocolate pudding, using italian biscuits called “amaretti.”
this delicious dolce italiano was first introduced to me by my friend who lives in a small village close to a town called asti in piemonte. she is japanese and married to a local wine producer. i got to know her through the same graduate school in milan we both attended back in 2004. i remember very well the first time i visited their place during our school year – they live in this huge house facing their vast vineyard, continued on and on to the hills as long as our sight could see. not to mention it was one of the most beautiful sceneries that i had ever seen, and at the same time, i remember having a hint of envy in my little heart, feeling a bit lonely that i did not have anyone to share the moment together.
anyway back to bunét – married to an italian, my friend brushed up her cooking skill quite significantly, learning from her mother-in-law and her neighbours, trying very hard to please her newly-wed husband. everyday she cooks 3 course meals for lunch & dinner, following the strict culinary tradition of italian living. when i visited her as well, she prepared 3 course lunch for me, started with pasta bolognese as primo piatto, grilled pork slices with mozzarella cheese as secondo, and finished by the dolce in question, bunét.
as mentioned earlier, it is a chocolate pudding made with amaretti biscuits. the taste of almond gave it another layer of flavour to the ordinary taste of chocolate pudding, which stimulated my taste bud and left a positive, somehow nostalgic feeling in my stomach. when i ate bunét at my friend’s place, i liked it so much that i asked for its recipe, but she told me that it was so easy that she would be embarrassed to give it to me – dah – so i heartily looked for the perfect recipe on the Internet, and came across a few. here is the recipe that i followed, with a little twist that i incorporated.
4 1/2 table spoons of water (cold)
4 table spoons of water (boiled)
1/2 liter of whole milk
a little bit of vanilla extract
2 table spoons of espresso
2 table spoons of amaletto liqueur (or rhum)
40g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
100g amaretti biscuits (crushed pieces)
1. make caramel – pour the sugar & the cold water into the pan, and boil it on the medium heat
2. when the colour of the caramel mix turns golden, put the boiled water in (be very careful when you do this, as the caramel splashes due to the high heat)
3. pour into a cake pan (a small oven dish will do), glaze the caramel to all the surfaces of the pan
4. preheat the oven to 160 degree C
5. for pudding – in a large bowl, mix in the eggs, sugar, cocoa and amaletti biscuits
6. in a medium sized pan, pour the milk and the vanilla bean stick, bring it to boil
7. turn off the heat, add the espresso and amaretto, and let it cool down
8. once the milk is cooled down a bit, gently and slowly pout it into the cake pan
9. bake it in the water bath (that’s what it said in italian) for about 45 minutes
10. once it is baked, let it cool down in the water bath (that is also what is said in italian) before putting it in the fridge
11. let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving
* after 12 hours or so, you can take the pudding out from the cake pan and place it on a large plate