Wednesday, 19 January 2011

An Italian dessert with a Mexican twist

One of the several cookery books I got over Christmas was Willie Harcourt-Cooze's (of Willie's chocolate factory fame on Channel 4) 'Chocolate Bible'. It's a lovely book, full of info about cacao, and jam packed with all kinds of recipes involving, in one way or another, this heavenly substance. For those who enjoy a little bit of chocolate in their savoury dishes, there's a great mole negro recipe...and I've been inspired to try making chocolate tortillas the next time I lay my hands on some masa harina.

In the meantime, one of the sweet recipes in the book which I have tried and would highly recommend is Willie's Bonet recipe. It's an Italian dessert (did you know that Venezuela cooking has a strong Italian presence thanks to the Italian immigrants that have settled there?), traditionally served during the colder months of the year. I made it over the weekend for friends; it's a lovely and light finish to any meal, looks stunning (and far more difficult to put together than it was) and went down a treat.

Here's the recipe - I'm planning on making it again with a more hispanic flair simply by substituting the amaretti biscuits with bizcochos and the rum with some Patron XO Cafe, a tequila-based coffee liquer. It's absolutely delicious, not too sweet and far classier than Baileys!

Bonet (serves 6-8)

70g granulated sugar
1 tbsp water

4 large eggs
30g granulated sugar
500ml milk (preferably whole)
40g cocoa (preferably Willie's cacao!)
100g crushed amaretti biscuits
2 tbsp dark rum
125ml freshly brewed strong coffee

You will also need a 22 x 11cm loaf tin

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Melt the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Stir until liquid and as soon as it darkens, forming caramel, remove from the heat and add the water to loosen. Quickly pour into the tin and tip it around so it coats the base and sides a little way up. Don't panic if it hardens; simply warm the tin over the hob to melt the caramel.

Beat the eggs and remaining sugar in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat the milk and when it comes to the boil, take off the heat and whisk in the cocoa. Pour over the egg mixture and stir, adding the amaretti biscuits, rum and coffee. Pour into the loaf tin and place this in a baking tin. Pour hot water into the tin so it comes up 1/3 of the sides. Bake for an hour or until set (I found it took a little longer). It should have a firm wobble!

Remove from the baking tin and allow to cool and then chill overnight. When ready, run a palette knife round the edge to turn out from the tin. Serve with a few chocolate covered coffee beans and pouring cream. Delicious.

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