July 10, 2012

Tartufo and ice cream pops

Without a doubt, I've got ice cream on my mind these days!  It has been one hot summer thus  far, which naturally demands cold drinks and desserts like a nice bowl of ice cream after a barbecue or dinner out on the deck.  The Perfect Scoop is providing me with plenty of inspiration and this is one of them. 
I think of these as "bonbons" because I remember buying cartons of these little chocolate coated ice cream balls at the supermarket when I was a kid.  At restaurants, they're more likely to be called "tartufo", which means truffle in Italian, and you can tell how the name might've come about by how they look.  I used vanilla ice cream but you could customize them by using any flavor you like or maybe a combination such as a scoop of Neapolitan ice cream.  You could also embellish them a bit by sprinkling some chopped nuts or sprinkles on top right after rolling them in chocolate.
These ice cream scoops are rolled in a dark chocolate coating. Ideally, the coating should be fairly thin.  I could've done a better job with that but with rapidly melting ice cream balls to contend with, this was the best I could do.  So while these tartufi may not have quite as thin and crunchy a coating as those bon bons in the freezer aisle, they are great little bites.  They taste like little mouthfuls of ice cream sundae, with the coating acting as the hot fudge.  Use a good quality chocolate you like (Callebaut, in my case here) and the chocolate coating is as much the star of the show as the cold ice cream within.  It doesn't get much better than dark chocolate and ice cream together.
When I started making these tartufi, I thought it would be fun and easy to turn them into ice cream pops as well.  All you need is some lollipop or even popsicle sticks.  They worked beautifully (actually makes dipping in the chocolate coating very easy) and what is one a nice grown up dessert turns into a fun, easy-to-eat summer snack for both kids and adults.  Happy summer eating! 

The trick to making these tartufi is to keep everything ice cold and to work fast!  Even with the air conditioner keeping my kitchen comfortable, the ice cream scoops were quick to melt (I think it also depends on what brand ice cream you use - I was not daring enough to use homemade ice cream since I make it by hand so the texture probably isn't quite ideal to do this with so I used Breyer's vanilla ice cream here).

Start by freezing 2 plates or baking sheets (that fits in your freezer) lined with plastic wrap, parchment, or wax paper.  You can make the tartufi any size you choose.  In my case, I made small ice cream scoops because I wanted small bite-size "bon bons" you could practically pop in your mouth.  But given their propensity to melt on me and the slightly thicker coating I ended up with, I did wish I'd made my ice cream scoops a teeny bit bigger.  Whatever size you decide on, pack your ice cream in tight and make sure it's "clean", without any dangling edges or runny bits (use your hands if you need to).  Use one of the 2 chilled plates or baking sheets for these (if the plate is not chilled, watch the ice cream start turning into puddles on you in hot weather - yes, I know this from experience).
If you would like to make ice cream pops, place lollipop sticks in the middle of the ice cream balls.  Work quickly and pop the ice cream scoops back in the freezer to firm up - overnight is a good idea.  I made 11 of these small ice cream scoops.  I know 11 is an odd number; I'm not sure if I miscounted or wanted an extra backup.

For my ice cream balls, I made half a recipe of the chocolate coating.  I took 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate and melted it with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup.  I let the chocolate coating cool for a couple of minutes and then took the frozen ice cream balls out of the freezer to dip.  Again, keep things cold so work fast and be prepared to slide the ice cream scoops back in the freezer in between dipping.  I had to do that.
The ice cream pops were a breeze to dip.  I dipped the bottom of one with some white nonpareils and if you want to dip them in sprinkles, nuts or something like that, do it quick since the chocolate coating hardens pretty fast. 

When it comes to the tartufi, use two spoons to toss the frozen ice cream scoops around to quickly coat them (trying not to get too thick a layer on the ice cream).  Lay the dipped ice cream on the second chilled plastic or parchment lined plate.  Again, if you want to sprinkle some nuts or anything on top, do it immediately before the chocolate sets.  Return the tartufi and ice cream pops back to the freezer until ready to eat!


Tartufi and Ice Cream Pops

- For approximately 10 small tartufi (this is half the original recipe so feel free to double it if you are making more or want larger size tartufi) -

1 to 1 1/2 cups ice cream, flavor of your choice
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Line 2 large plates or small baking sheets with plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper.  Place in the freezer to chill. 

Using a small ice cream scoop, make 10 balls of your ice cream flavor of choice and place them on one of the chilled plates.  The key to making these is to work quickly and keep things cold, with an eye for melting ice cream.  The scoops should be compact and neat, without bits of ice cream sticking out, so use your hands if necessary.  To make ice cream pops, insert a lollipop or popsicle stick in the middle of each ice cream ball.  Freeze the ice cream scoops thoroughly - overnight is not a bad idea.

To make the chocolate coating, melt the chocolate with the butter and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Remove the melted chocolate mixture from the pan and let cool a few minutes.  Remove the frozen ice cream scoops from the freezer right before dipping.

If you are making ice cream pops, simply hold the lollipop stick and dip/turn the ice cream into the chocolate, letting the excess drip off.  Set it on top of the second chilled plate.  For the tartufi, use two spoons to toss the ice cream scoops around, doing your best to work quickly so you get a thin coating of chocolate.  (You can add sprinkles or chopped nuts to these, if you like.  Just make sure to do so immediately since the chocolate sets very quickly.)

Return the dipped ice cream into the freezer until ready to serve.


  1. Awesome! I saw this in the book and was wondering how hard they were. They look super yummy.

  2. Thanks! They are yummy and I've got a craving for some right now! : ) I would just make sure to freeze those plates and don't make the ice cream scoops too small in case you end up with a thicker chocolate coating than you figured. Hope you try and enjoy them!

  3. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the precious time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting articles you share here!its yummy!
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