Italians love their food, and we love it too! One of my favorite things to do is to learn from an Italian how to make one of their recipes. Each region of Italy prides itself in their particular recipes, and our region of Piedmont (“Piemonte” in Italian, which means “at the foot of the mountains”) is no different. When my friend and neighbor, Maria Angela, offered to show me how to make Bunet, she insisted that the recipe she shared with me was actually called Bunet di Cuneo. Again, I saw how important their roots are to Italians since Cuneo is her hometown, about 45 minutes outside of Torino.
Mariangela and her husband have lived in our apartment building for 30 years, a pretty amazing fact since we’ve moved three times in the last ten years! She’s aware of every function taking place in the area, and has invited us to many of them. We’ve attended several plays together, an antique market, as well as other events. The first time we enjoyed a meal in their home, Mariangela made this simple, chocolate Bunet. It’s quite easy to make and I thought you might enjoy trying an authentic Italian dessert–besides Tiramisu–the only Italian dessert most Americans know! So here’s the recipe as she gave it to me. (American equivalents below.)
70 g sugar
200 g sugar
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
100 g amaretti cookies
750 ml milk
To begin, Mariangela carmelized 70 grams of granulated sugar right in her loaf pan, over the stove. I recommend carmelizing it with 1T. water in a heavy skillet and then pouring it into your loaf pan to avoid burning your fingers! She did this before I arrived, so I’m sorry I don’t have any photos to show you of the carmelization process.
Each recipe makes one pan; we, of course, made two pans so we could each have one. The pans need to be set into another pan which will hold the hot water for a bain marie, or hot water bath, which gives a more even, gentle heat during baking.
Once the pans have been prepared, we broke the eggs into a bowl and beat them with the 200 g of sugar. Italians do not use measuring cups; they weigh every ingredient.
Next, Mariangela weighed the cocoa powder…
…and I measured it to see how much an American, without a cool, digital scale, should use.
Amaretti cookies are considered to be a specialty of this area. They are small, hard cookies, which we needed to “grind” into very fine crumbs.
If I had been in my own kitchen, I would have used a food processor but Mariangela used a food mill. It was a novel idea, though a bit more work.
Now we were ready to add the cocoa powder and amaretti crumbs into the egg and sugar mixture.
It’s not a bad idea to sift the cocoa powder, to avoid lumps of bitter cocoa. If you don’t have a sifter, be sure to “smash” any lumps before adding it to the mixture.
Then stir the mixture gently until well-combined.
Add 750 ml of milk. In Italy most people use the long-conservation milk which is conveniently stored without refrigeration until it’s opened. If your milk is cold, you should warm it on the stove or in the microwave until comfortably warm.
Now stir gently, but thoroughly…
…and pour into the prepared pans.
Notice how different Mariangela’s batch looks from mine. Even though we followed the same recipe they looked completely different. I used Dutch cocoa which I brought down from Germany but her cocoa was from the grocery store here in town. My batch had lumps of cocoa, even though I sifted it into the mixture. If I had been in my own kitchen, I would have tried using a whisk but she didn’t have one so we just “went with it”. Actually, when we ate it the next day, it tasted absolutely fine.
Remember the two loaf pans were setting in a larger jellyroll-type pan? Now Mariangela poured boiling water into the outer pan before putting them into the oven for one hour at 200° C (400°F).
After baking, the pans were allowed to cool to room temperature before chilling them overnight in the fridge. To serve, slide a knife around the edge of the Bunet to loosen the edges and invert it onto a platter. Slice into luscious, thick pieces and enjoy!
Grazie, Mariangela, per la ricetta di !
- 1/3 C. (70 g) sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 C. (250 g) sugar
- 2/3 C. (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 C. (100 g) Amaretti cookie crumbs
- 3 C. (750 ml) milk
- Put 1/3 C. sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar melts and turns to liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon and continue cooking until the whole mixture is a syrup and the color of warm honey. Remove from heat and spoon a small amount into custard cups or the whole amount into a loaf pan. Swirl the cup or pan around to coat all the edges.
- Beat together the eggs and 1 C. sugar.
- Add the cocoa and Amaretti cookie crumbs. Stir well.
- Add the milk, stirring gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into loaf pan and set in a larger pan with at least 1 inch/2.5 cm of boiling water.
- Bake at 400° F (200° C) for 1 hour.
- Cool to room temperature before chilling overnight.
- To serve, slide a knife around the outer edges and invert onto a platter. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
For additional recipes, please visit: http://ciaofromdebbie.com