My Best-selling dish – Bonet, caramel and hazelnut ice-cream

15 June 2012
My Best-selling dish – Bonet, caramel and hazelnut ice-cream

What is it? Dessert
Price £5

GP 50%
Orders 80% overall

Sam Harris
Sam Harris
Bonet is a traditional Italian dessert, dating back to the 13th century. It originates from the Piedmont region in northern Italy where some of the world's best hazelnuts are grown. It would be traditionally served at banquets and weddings.

There are two theories behind the name bonet, which means ‘hat' in Italian - one is due to the original shape of the dessert, which was traditionally made using a round mould with a hole in the centre, resembling a hat; the other is that the bonet would be the last thing you ate at the dinner table and a hat would be the last thing you put on before leaving the house.

With primary flavours of chocolate, amaretti and hazelnut liqueur, a custard base is made, the flavours are mixed into the base and then cooked gently in a bain-marie.

This quickly became a very popular dessert on the menu at Zucca because it suited our ethos of classic/modern Italian food. The combination of flavours, textures and temperatures creates an interesting and elegant dessert. At Zucca we use Frangelico for the recipe - a hazelnut liqueur, also from the Piedmont region.

Bonet, caramel and hazelnut ice-cream is a regular at Zucca but not available every service as we have a constantly changing menu.
Sam Harris, chef/owner, Zucca, London

(Serves 10)
450ml milk
300ml double cream
4 eggs
50g light brown sugar
2.5tbs cocoa powder
80g chopped dark chocolate
1tbs frangelico
200g amaretti biscuits, crumbled
Crushed brittle to serve

For the caramel
500g caster sugar
300ml water

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Make a caramel with the caster sugar and water and cover the base of a standard size loaf tin, saving some for later. Put the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar together until fluffy, slowly add the milk, then the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into the tin and stand in a water bath. Bake for 1 hour, until set. Remove from the tin and slice, spoon over the reserved caramel and top with the crushed brittle.

Bonet caramel and hazelnut ice cream
Bonet caramel and hazelnut ice cream

Ronan Sayburn
Ronan Sayburn
Recommended wine

Because of the nutty elements in this dessert I would look at a wine that has slight nutty characteristics from gentle oxidation. Also, as it is quite sweet from the caramel, a sweet, rich and full wine is needed. Try an oloroso or palo cortado sherry from a producer like Gonzalez Byass - their Apóstoles is exceptional.
Ronan Sayburn MS is director of wine and spirits at Hotel du Vin

TagsChef and Recipes
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