Italian Chocolate Custard with Amaretti (Bonet alla Piemontese)
Amaretti are crisp, airy Italian cookies with an almond flavor. In this elegant dessert from Italy's Piedmont region, the cookies are crushed, then soaked and baked into a cocoa-enriched custard. A layer of caramel on the bottom of the pan becomes a sauce once the dessert is unmolded, similar to crème caramel or flan. During baking, the amaretti crumbs rise to the surface of the custard and form a cake-like layer that, after inverting, becomes the base of the dessert. Coffee heightens the chocolatey flavor and a bit of dark rum adds a subtle bite that balances the sweetness. If you can’t find amaretti, substitute an equal amount of Stella D’oro Almond Toast. To crush the cookies, place them in a heavy-duty zip-close bag and bash them gently with a rolling pin. Either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa works in this recipe.
grams (½ cup) plus 71 grams (⅓ cup) white sugar
cups heavy cream
01Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. In a medium saucepan, combine ¼ cup water and 107 grams (½ cup) sugar. Cook over medium, occasionally swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase to medium-high and cook, gently swirling the pan, until the caramel is lightly smoking and dark amber in color, about 4 minutes. Carefully pour it into a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan and gently tilt to coat the bottom of the pan; set aside.
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