Bounet, bunet or bonet is a traditional festive dessert from Piemonte. The name is thought to be derived from “bonnet” (hat), since the dessert is the ‘hat’ of the meal. Bounet is delicious and very good with any dessert wine that goes well with chocolate, including Barolo Chinato and Pedro Ximenez.
This recipe is adapted for sous-vide from the great Italian cooking site GialloZafferano. So if you don’t have a sous-vide, you can find the recipe for an oven there (also in English). Contrary to GialloZafferano, I prefer to make individual portions because you don’t have to cut and therefore it looks nicer. Another trick I’ve added is to preheat the containers before adding the caramel, because otherwise the caramel will solidify too quickly. The nice thing about using sous-vide for this is that it’s almost foolproof to obtain perfectly set bounet with a great consistency and you don’t have to mess around with hot water in your oven.
350 ml milk (3/4 pint)
50 grams (2 ounces) ameretti (Italian crunchy bitter cookies) plus 4 more for decoration
25 grams (1 ounce) cocoa powder plus a bit more for decoration
50 ml dark rum (1/5 cup)
75 grams (3/8 cup) sugar (in which you have kept previously used vanilla beans, the sugar will take over the scent to get cheap and delicious vanilla sugar!)
100 grams (1/2 cup) ‘normal’ sugar
5 egg yolks
Whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla sugar until the sugar has dissolved and you have a pale yellow cream (about 2 minutes, I prefer to use an electric mixer for this because I am too lazy to whisk).
Grind the ameretti into powder using a food processor or a rolling pin.
Add cocoa powder, ground amaretti, rum and milk and whisk until all the ingredients are mixed and there are no lumps.
Pre-heat the ramekins or other shapes you will use to prevent the caramel from becoming solid too quickly.
Make the caramel by adding a tiny bit of water to the sugar so it just dissolves as shown in the picture, and then heat it over high heat without stirring too much until it is amber in color.
Now pour the caramel quickly into the preheated shapes before it becomes too dark.
Put the mixture into the shapes. If you own a Sousvide Supreme water bath like I do, you can use the frame to very easily lower all the shapes into the water bath at the same time as shown in the photo.
Put the shapes on the bottom of the sous-vide water bath, making sure that the water level is at least 1 cm (1/2 inch) below the rim of the shapes. Cook for 45 minutes at 85-90C/185-194F with the lid on top of the water bath.
Make sure that the bounet has set and then take the shapes out of the water bath and let them cool to room temperature.
To serve, turn onto a plate (if necessary, use a knife to cut along the edge). The bounet will be covered by the caramel sauce. Decorate with an amaretti cookie and some cocoa powder.