My Tartufo ice cream

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Matsuri 2013 161

Tartufo (tahr-too-foh) is an Italian ice-cream dessert. It is usually composed of two or more flavors of ice cream, often with either fruit syrup, marzepan or frozen fruit — typically raspberry, strawberry or cherry — in the center. It is usually covered in a shell made of chocolate or cocoa, but cinnamon or nuts are also used. So whenever I want to indulge myself I prepare this sensational Italian dessert, wherewith I can satisfy my weakness for chocolate. It is not only easy to prepare but also guaranteed that it will beat the ice-cream out from your cone!

The history behind of this delicacy

The Tartufo di Pizzo ice cream was invented in 1952 when a relative of king Victor Emannuel II came to Pizzo in honour of the celebration of an aristocratic marriage. For this occasion many guests were invited for an elaborate dinner. Unfortunately the hosts did not have enough cups to serve the guests the ice cream dessert but a clever pastry maker named Don Pippo de Maria came up with a creative solution. He invented an ice cream that did not need a cup but instead could be served on a plate. He put a small portion of hazel and a small amount of chocolate ice cream in the palm of his hand, he poured over some melted chocolate and then wrapped everything up in special paper to mould it. Wrapped up like little presents, he put the ice cream parcels back in the freezer before serving it to his guests. Don Pippo’s invention earned him immediate fame. After the aristocratic wedding Don Pippo went back to his ice cream parlour (which exists to this day). A former waiter of Don Pippo named Giorgio di Lorgi took over the Bar Dante in 1964. It is still there on the central piazza in Pizzo and serves the famous Tartufo ice cream according to the secret recipe of Don Pippo. (Since then Tartufo di Pizzo ice cream has become legendary (The original recipe is kept under strict guard by the De Maria descendants).

The recipe of the Tartufo


  • 3/4 cup crushed chocolate cookies ( I used almond flavoured amarettini biscuits)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 4 brandied or maraschino cherries
  • 4 sprigs mint

Directions: Combine the cookie crumbs and chocolate chunks in a large resealable bag. Using a large round ice cream scoop, scoop out a ball of ice cream and leave it in the scoop. Poke a hole in the center of the scoop with a handle of a wooden spoon and put a cherry into the hole. Cover the hole with a bit of ice cream and put the scoop of ice cream into the bag of cookies and chocolate pieces. Shake around pressing gently to completely coat the ice cream.  Put the scoop on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes.  Repeat the process with remaining ingredients.  Before serving, divide the caramel sauce among 4 plates. Remove the Tartufos from the freezer and slice them in half.  Arrange 2 halves on each plate and garnish with mint sprigs or ground pistachio..



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