Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, bunet is a rich, chocolaty custard with a layer of golden-brown caramel. Although surprisingly simple to make, this recipe requires a little bit of forethought, as it should be refrigerated overnight before serving.
- Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2¼ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee
- 1 tablespoon rum
- 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 4½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1½ cups ladyfingers, torn into pieces
- 1/3 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (or substitute chocolate wafer or gingersnaps crumbs)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare the caramel by mixing ¾ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it turns light brown in color. Do not stir. Pour the caramel into a loaf pan, or divide among 6 to 8 individual custard cups. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the espresso, rum, and Marsala. Soak the ladyfingers and cookie crumbs in the espresso mixture. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until just simmering then remove from heat. Add the warmed milk to the soaked cookie mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and cocoa powder. Slowly add the milk mixture to the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan or individual custard cups.
Place the bunets in a water bath: Set them in a large baking dish, then add enough hot water to reach halfway up the bunet pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm to the touch but still a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven, cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate overnight.