Editor’s note: As we’ve written, Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants are at the forefront of a modern Brooklyn food ethos. His rule-breaking institutions have redefined the BK food scene many times over—first with Williamsburg icon Diner, then its adjacent outpost Marlow & Sons, then the groundbreaking ingredient boutique Marlow & Daughters, then Fort Greene’s Italian destination Roman’s, then uber-chic Reynard and The Ides in the Wythe Hotel and Achilles Heel on the Greenpoint waterfront. He’s also a force behind Marlow Goods, She Wolf Bakery and the decade-old Diner Journal with his longtime collaborator Anna Dunn. The two have just released their first and much anticipated cookbook Dinner at the Long Table in time for the holiday season, which we’re celebrating by sharing this wintertime Italian dessert.
Time is relative. You’ll never find a clock in any of our restaurants. Behind the scenes, we keep time. The countdown. A two-minute fire. A 20-minute wait for a table. An hour when you’re in the weeds flies by in what feels like a minute. A game changer. A cocktail or two. Service has got to be fun. So does New Year’s Eve. Since Diner opened, we have celebrated the turning of each year in one of our restaurants, so making this at home was really fun for us. Two New Years? Why not? We cheer to a New Year.
Basically, cookies and cream, bonet is an age-old recipe from the Piedmont region of Italy. You will need two flameproof 9-inch baking dishes for this recipe.
1½ cups sugar
1 cup sugar plus 5½ tablespoons
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
30 amaretti cookies (about 160 grams), finely crumbled
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 shots espresso
2 tablespoons dark rum
To make the candied orange peel, cut the top and bottom off the oranges so they can sit flat, then peel the oranges with a knife, removing as little of the white pith as possible. Thinly slice the peels into ⅙-inch strips. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the orange peels and blanch them until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well. In a medium saucepan, bring 1¼ cups of the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Add the blanched peels and simmer until translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove the peels with a slotted spoon and let drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, separating the peels so they don’t stick together. Let dry for 2 hours, then toss with the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a bowl. Let dry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper overnight.
To make the bonet, sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar over the bottom of a flameproof 9-inch baking dish. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes to a deep mahogany color, about 3 minutes. Cut the heat and set aside to cool. Repeat with another flameproof 9-inch baking dish and ½ cup sugar.
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream and amaretti. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, the cocoa, espresso and rum in a small bowl. Add a splash of the warm milk mixture to the egg mixture, then slowly incorporate the tempered egg mixture into the warm milk mixture. Pour the custard into the baking dishes. Place the dishes in a pan, or 2 separate pans if need be, and pour hot water into the pan to halfway up the height of the custard dish. Bake, uncovered, in the hot water bath until set, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. You can serve the bonets in their dishes or invert them onto plates, if you like drama. To unmold a bonet, place a flat serving plate over the top of the bonet’s baking dish. With a firm grasp and full confidence, flip the dish over quickly. The bonet will unmold and settle onto the serving plate. Serve with the dark chocolate, hazelnuts and candied orange peels.
Reprinted with permission from Dinner at the Long Table by Andrew Tarlow and Anna Dunn, copyright © 2016. Photography by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.