Chocolate-Vanilla Tartufo

published Aug 22, 2021
Tartufo Recipe

This delicious round dessert features layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a cherry inside, all coated in a hard chocolate shell.


Prep15 minutes

Cook5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Tartufo on a plate with a small scoop taken out and a spoon on the side.
Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

If you grew up on the East Coast frequenting Italian restaurants, you may remember seeing “tartufo” on the dessert menus. (And it most likely came from a well-known Italian dessert vendor that serviced tons of Italian restaurants.) As a child, it was really exciting to crack open the hard chocolate coating with a spoon to reveal the ice cream and cherry inside. This recipe is an easy way to recreate the same special moment at home.

If, on first glance, it reads like a complicated process, rest assured it’s not. Each step is easy and most of the work is done by the freezer. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the tartufo to harden in the freezer. To ensure success with little to no stress, try to make them the day before serving. This recipe yields 4, but can be easily cut in half or doubled. 

How to Make Tartufo

  • Crush your cookies. Pulse chocolate wafers in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
  • Soften your first flavor of ice cream. Set it on the counter to rest at room temperature while you prep the bowls.
  • Prep the bowls. Line 4 small bowls with plastic wrap, then pack in your first flavor of ice cream and top it with a layer of cookie crumbs. Freeze until firm.
  • Soften your second flavor of ice cream. While the first layer is freezing, set your second carton of ice cream on the counter to rest at room temperature.
  • Assemble. Add your second layer of ice cream and another layer of cookie crumbs, then wrap it up to freeze until hardened.
  • Make the chocolate shell: Melt chocolate with coconut oil.
  • Unmold the tartufo: A hot, wet kitchen towel helps easily remove the ice cream from the bowl.
  • Pour the chocolate shell: Over a wire rack, pour chocolate shell over each tartufo until completely covered.
  • Refreeze and enjoy: Freeze until completely hardened, preferably overnight.

Best Type of Ice Cream for Tartufo

One of the benefits of making your own tartufo is that you can use your favorite brands and flavors of ice cream. The combination of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate is classic, but feel free to experiment with other flavors. Green tea ice cream would take it in another, equally delicious, direction. Sorbets or sherbets don’t work as well here because they don’t freeze as hard as traditional ice cream. 

Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

Tartufo Recipe

This delicious round dessert features layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a cherry inside, all coated in a hard chocolate shell.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 18

    chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco

  • 5 tablespoons

    liquid refined or unrefined coconut oil, divided

  • 1 pint

    vanilla ice cream (2 cups)

  • 1 pint

    coffee ice cream (2 cups)

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag

    semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Place 18 chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender. Pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, and stir to combine.

  2. Let 1 pint vanilla ice cream sit at room temperature to soften slightly while you prepare the bowls.

  3. Line 4 small bowls (ideally 4- and 4 1/2-inches wide and 2- to 2 1/2-inches deep, with 1 to 1 1/4-cup capacity) with plastic wrap, leaving a little overhang on all sides. Divide the vanilla ice cream between the bowls, then pack the ice cream down to create a flat surface. Gently sprinkle each with a heaping tablespoon of the cookie crumbs and press them in to create an even, single layer. Freeze for 10 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, let 1 pint coffee ice cream sit at room temperature to soften slightly.

  4. Remove the bowls from the freezer. Repeat dividing and packing in the coffee ice cream between the bowls, then repeat sprinkling and pressing in cookie crumbs. Pull the excess plastic wrap up and over the top layer to cover. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

  5. Place 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips and remaining 4 tablespoons coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of water simmering over medium heat. (The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water.) Stir until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

  6. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the bowls from the freezer and invert on the rack. Wet a kitchen towel with hot water and wring out the water. Working with one bowl at a time, wrap the warm dish towel over the bottom of the bowl for 5 seconds to loosen it. Lift the bowl off, then remove the tartufo from the plastic wrap.

  7. Starting in the center and moving outward around the sides, pour the chocolate over the tartufos. Keeping the tartufos on the rack, freeze until the shells are completely hardened and the ice cream is firm, at least 10 minutes, but ideally 1 hour. To serve, loosen each tartufo from the rack with a metal spatula that has been warmed slightly under warm water and dried. (Alternatively, once the shells are hardened, cover loosely in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 5 days.)