I never really quite understood the expression "death by chocolate" (nor did I know it's apparently trademarked until I recently looked it up! :o ). Not sure why, but that phrase always sounded funny to me. Almost dangerous. What could possibly go wrong with chocolate anyways?
Having too much of a decadent, velvety smooth, beautifully deep cocoa flavored little treat? Creating a can't-put-that-fork-down chocolate dessert? Those sound like good things to me ;)
Maybe we should rephrase that saying to "life by chocolate", because the satisfied and mildly euphoric feeling of a good Italian chocolate dessert is certainly a life experience to be had...
So this dessert officially sky-rocketed straight up to one of our top favorites ever. Right up there with tiramisu and the hemp chocolates.
It also makes a perfect "celebration" dessert if you're looking to serve or share a treat with friends and you don't want to do cake.
So unless you're Italian or had a tartufo before, you're probably wondering what on earth a tartufo is. Let me fill you in with a quick synopsis:
- it's decadent
- an ice cream "ball"
- often coated in cocoa or melted chocolate
- a tried and tested classic (you know, not unlike the famous tiramisu ;) )
- sometimes made with berries or a berry sauce, or two different ice cream flavors, or nuts
In short, it's a little ball of decadent ice cream. I opted for two flavors for this version: regular and white chocolate. I also opted to make it a raw-style, refined sugar-free, and, dairy-free tartufo, because... well, you know! :)
The inspiration to make these happened when I chanced upon the perfect silicone mold for tartufo. I've been wanting to make some for the blog for a while, but somehow it felt like it needed the right shape to be authentic. I say needed because, well, for presentation it's the classic form for this dessert. But for a home edition, maybe needed can be downgraded a few notches to a nice to have, but not essential.
You can get away with using a silicone muffin pan for the same concept. Different shape, same chocolate ice cream. All good :)
Whether you opt to get/use the tartufo pan (which is great for small treats) or use a muffin pan, be sure to use a silicone one because otherwise you'll never dig your dessert out -- or at least not gracefully. I've seen some attempts by people who didn't know. Wasn't pretty :S
Silicone makes it so easy to pop these out, plus you'll get lots of brownie points for serving an impressively-shaped, authentic restaurant quality dessert.
Just a couple more quick notes: the two tones of chocolate (regular and white) can be used in several ways. One way is to fill the center with the white (as per the first photo above), another way is to simply lightly swirl the two flavors together with a skewer once the two mixtures are in the mold. Up to you, really, but if you swirl, be sure not to over-swirl, so you can still keep the two flavors distinct.
The second quick note is that the recipe only makes 3 big servings, but you can double since the pan has 6 cavities, especially if serving for company. One serving is quite large though. So feel free to cut in half or serve whole :) And while on this subject, if you're using a newer Vitamix with the wider pitcher base, you'll need to triple the recipe to make it work (as Janel has done in the video above).
Another note: traditionally tartufo is served coated with a chocolate drizzle or sauce or dusted. I went with dusting because it's quite rich and decadent already, and of course chocolatey, for me, but up to you if you want to go for something more classic when serving this raw version.
Lastly, this recipe uses raw cacao butter, which is the thing that makes chocolate taste and smell incredible. If you're unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend giving it a try. Just be sure to pick up a food-grade version (as there are also versions made for body products). In a pinch, you can also use coconut oil here instead, but you'll lose a bit of the depth of flavor that cacao butter lends to the recipe.
Raw Chocolate Tartufo
Raw vegan remake of classic Italian dessert. Rich, decadent dairy-free ice cream balls, filled with white chocolate ice cream. No churning required. Gluten-free.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 3 large servings (I cut mine in half and get 6)
- Category: Ice Cream
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Dessert
- ½ cup raw cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 4 tbsp maple syrup (or raw agave for raw version)
- 4 tbsp melted cacao butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (I recommend using alkalized**)
- additional cocoa powder for dusting and cacao nibs. Melted chocolate for drizzling would be great too.
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting***. Blend all ice cream ingredients, EXCEPT cocoa powder, in a high power blender until completely smooth. Pour just under half of this mixture into a little pitcher or small bowl and set aside.
- Add cocoa powder to the remaining mixture in the blender and blend to combine.
- Set the silicone pan (I used this one; see notes above recipe for alternatives) on a small flat tray or cutting board. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between three of the mold cavities (if using the same mold). Then carefully pour or spoon in the white mixture (which was set aside in step 1) into the center of each chocolate mixture-filled cavity.
- Place the pan into the freezer for 5-6 hours or overnight to set. When ready to serve / eat, remove from mold and plate, dust with some cocoa powder. Let the tartufo thaw out 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
*To pre-soak nuts: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water.
For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn't preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above).
Note: the purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you're interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.
**note: I recommend going with alkalized cocoa powder over raw cacao powder for raw cakes, as sometimes raw cacao powder can react with other ingredients and spoil the cake. That said, this can still be made with raw cacao if you prefer to keep the recipe fully raw.
***If you have cold items, they'll make the mixture firm up too quickly in the blender / if your items are extremely hot, like the cocoa butter, they'll cook the sugar in the blender and make the mixture clump up. Room temp or very slightly warm is idea.
Hi ! i personally love the subtle taste of white chocolate so i was wondering could i change the proportions a little ? to make half half or even more white than chocolate ? what do you think ?:)
Hi Caro, yes absolutely. It's an easy recipe to adjust to your taste :)
Hei Audrey, I love Tartufo and had an excellent supplier just across the street from my home. But now they have suddenly stopped selling it so it looks like I must try this recepie.)
I m wondering if I can also use cashew butter instead of the cashews as I m worried my not so strong blending stick will have trouble breaking down the cashews. Wiuld that work and would it be the same amount as cashews? Perhaps a spoon less I would guess?
Grüße Jo from Germany
Hi Jo, I think in a case of a not so strong blender going with cashew butter is a good idea. In my experience it tastes a touch different to blended raw cashews, perhaps because most nuts are roasted before being made into butter, and also because they're not soaked first, but rather are blended dry. As a result the "cashew" flavor and sweetness are a bit more pronounced -- just mentioning it in terms of expecting a bit of a flavor change from the original recipe. The other thing is that presoaked cashews have a lot of moisture in them (as they're full of water), so they blend differently to cashew butter -- cashew butter will be thicker in comparison. So... in short, what I would do if using cashew butter is use less of it (like 1/3 cup) and if the mixture is too thick to blend you can add a bit more almond milk to thin things out a touch.
If you give it a go, would love to hear how it turned out for you. :)
Thank you! I ll let you now when I have tried it .)
Could I use coconut cream or oil in place of cacao butter? I'm not particularly crazy about the flavor of it. I've tried lots of homemade chocolates, using cacao butter, and they have a strange flavor, unlike any chocolate I've ever had.
Hi Kimberly. You can use coconut oil in place of cacao butter here. I recommend using a little bit of cacao butter though if it's an option just for the richer chocolatey flavor.
It looks fabulous 👌👌👌
Thanks very much :) Enjoy it!
Hello, can i use coconut butter instead of cacao butter?🤗
Hi Eduarda, coconut oil would be a better substitute as it's more similar in consistency to cacao butter. Coconut butter would be a bit thick and you might have a hard time blending the mixture, but you can try adding a little for flavor and see how you like it :)
Tried this and it worked beautifully. Increased the volumes to fill my wide bottom Vitamix with the added benefit it made more desert.
That's wonderful -- thanks for sharing, Rohan. I'm glad you enjoyed these :)
Thank You for sharing this 'deliciosa' with us.
You're welcome. Enjoy it :)
Linda Gibson says
This looks like an amazing recipe! I have been asked to bring dessert for Thanksgiving and the hostess is gluten free. This will be the dish. I would like to add one thing though and I wonder if you think it would work to inject some caramel sauce in the middle of the tartufo. I was thinking this recipe so it is gooey, not as hard as a caramel candy would be. https://lifemadesweeter.com/easy-homemade-caramel-sauce/
Hi Linda, I think that should work fine. Nothing better than caramel + chocolate + ice cream :) If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it turns out.
Thanks a lot. This is my first visit to your website. I'm happy I found it. I will start trying some of your recipes. Would you recommend any particular recipes to start with?
I have raw chocolate powder, a big bag of it, was wondering whether I can heat the cacao butter with the cocoa powder, then leave it to cool down to room temperature.
I know I can't call it raw anymore, but do you think it will work?
Hi there. Welcome to the site :)
There's a getting started page with some recipe recommendations, etc. that you can have a look through here.
What were you thinking of making with the cacao butter and cocoa powder with the method you described? Chocolate?
So I'm gluten free and my husband is allergic to tree nuts AND peanuts. This sounds amazing but do you have any substitutes? Thanks!
Hi Mary, I don't have a one for one substitute for this recipe that doesn't contain nuts, but I can recommend this cake as a close substitute:
Chocolate Cauliflower Ice Cream Cake
or this Black Bean Chocolate Cake
Both of the above recipes can be made in the same mold (and you can omit the crust) so that you get something similar in shape and function as this tartufo recipe.
Other nut-free recipes chocolate-themed recipes you might enjoy are:
Hemp Chocolates (my favorite recipe ever!)
French Silk Pie
Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake
Raw Chocolate Hemp Banana Pie
Fudgey Carob Hemp Butter
Chocolate Covered Espresso Oat Bars (if you're ok with oats)
Raw Chocolate Mousse Cake
All my recipes are always gluten-free, and you can find many more nut-free recipes on the recipes page by selecting the "nut-free" category up top. I'm often happy to provide substitution suggestions on recipes that are not nut-free, but in some cases when the nuts are the basis of something, a straight substitution is not always simple so easier to find a similar nut-free recipe instead.
I made this today. It was so easy to make. It was delicious and turned out perfect! It was my first time using cocoa butter. I will definitely be making this again.
Aw, that's so great to hear, Beth! Thank you so much for the feedback.
Hehe...I like life by chocolate much better ;) Oh, my, Audrey!!! This is such a beautiful dessert and I love the two tones. I had never heard of tartufo before, but you had me at chocolate...and ice cream ball. I'm always in awe of your creations because they look so professional, like something you would find in a high end bakery, yet when you read the ingredient list, it's short and doable! I need to order some silicone molds and I also need to make more of your hemp chocolates :)
Thanks Mandy. Isn't it funny that sometimes all you need is a few simple things... I'm always seriously baffled though at how the same few ingredients can be used in infinite ways to create infinite possibilities :o
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
Aww yes I like "life by chocolate" much much better too...hurry trademark that one!! Or life by chocolate ice cream. Or life by elegant dome of chocolate ice cream with a most delicious cacao-butter center that I don't know how I have never had before. I think all of those have potential :D I love it when you recreate these international desserts and prove that they are much simpler than their fancy-sounding names. Two-toned dome of chocolate ice cream--why couldn't they have gone with that? It sounds and looks SO good though, mmm I bet that white chocolate center is divine <3
Hehe. I know what you mean. Apparently tartufo is also sometimes called "BOMBA" ? -- I kind of like how it can go from elegant and refined-sounding to bomba ??
OMG, how good this looks, Audrey! Maybe one of your most interesting recipe!
Isn't it? :) How funny that a "shape" can alter so much...
Edith D. Thurman says
One little problem cocoa butter at room temp is hard as a rock! It has to be melted, which it then is no longer room temp. So how did you bypass this liitle problem? Also did you happen to weight it before you melted it to get 4 Tbs? The cocoa butter I get is $18 a lb so I really don't want to waste it, it goes fast enough making my own sugar free chocolate. I do want to try this, because it sounds amazingly great.
Hi Edith. I melt mine gently and then let it sit. It can be slightly warm, just not hot. I let it sit until it's cool to the touch and then use it. I don't weigh it first. I melt more and then extract the 4 tbsp melted. Chill the remainder back into solid form in a silicone liner for later use. Nothing goes to waste :)
If you're curious, in my book I have a video tutorial and a chapter on cacao butter, quickest ways to melt, how to preserve leftovers for future use, etc. Not essentials, but little tricks that make your life easier.
I love chocolate and this looks so good! I know you recommend using alkalized cocoa powder in this recipe, but do you think it might work with raw cacao powder? The benefit of making raw desserts like this, for me, is being able to maintain the most nutrients from the ingredients, and raw cacao powder is more nutrient dense than alkalized cocoa powder.. Thanks!
I love raw cacao and use it almost daily. I just think alkalized works better for raw desserts of this nature from my experience. I explained in a reply to Johanna below about the reasons, if you're curious. It will still likely work with the raw cocoa powder, but there's a small chance it won't and for that reason I don't like taking the risk because it's ingredients / work that could potentially go to waste. I've had that happen a few times, and some of my readers experienced the same, so I'd rather not chance it. But it's just a personal choice -- it works find with raw cacao more often than it doesn't. You can test it out with your cacao powder and then you'll know if it's ok or not :)
Audrey, all I can say is WOW. Wish I was there, I'd happily be a taste tester ??
I don't know why, but I thought of you while making this, Tina! :)
? Yes it has my name written all over it!! I wish I could order a dozen or two ?. I will be making this in the next day or so and the hazelnut version sounds great too, so I might just have to make both versions ? Oh I'm having cravings for your sachertorte and almonds butter ice creams now....oh Audrey, when are you opening Audrey's Nutty ice cream shop?? :). I am an ice cream-a-holic but only those that are so gorgeous, healthy as these and other healthy fresh fruit ice creams!!
Well, I made a hazelnut version today myself ? you know, just testing ;) I loved it, but it needed a bit more sweetener.
Oh, that ice cream shop. It really would be so much fun!
I think Almonds would be good too. Dare I say a Pistachio version giving a slight green tinged centre?? Or a chocolate/coffee version if you added a little coffee to the white mixture?? xx
You're going to turn me into an ice cream ball myself with all these delicious suggestions ? No, but seriously, yummy ideas :)
Hmm alkalized chocolate? What do you mean that the raw cacao 'reacts?'
Alkalized cocoa powder, also known as Dutch Processed. It’s the most commonly available cocoa powder in stores usually. The alkalization process neutralizes the acidity in the cocoa. Otherwise sometimes there could be a natural chemical reaction in a recipe if it sits a while (during the hours of setting) and the cake becomes inedible. It doesn’t always happen (in fact rarely), just depends on how acidic the batch of raw cacao is and what else you include in the recipe, or even on the pan type. I don’t usually use raw cacao powder in raw desserts that require a setting time for that reason, just so as not to chance having to toss a cake.
Yet another AMAZING recipe! As soon as I saw the first picture on this post, I literally stopped breathing for a few seconds! I can't wait to make these! ?
Thank you so much, Olivia! Enjoy it :)
These look divine! I could not wait to make them. The worst part was waiting by the freezer :)) These are delicious and heavenly in every possible way. Thank you, Audrey, you have nailed it for me! I will most definitely make these again soon! Thank YOU!
You're amazing, Lana! :) I can't believe how quickly you were on this! Thank you for sharing. I'm so happy you liked it!
Yes, I could not wait to try them. I think I love these more than your hemp bars :)
?? I know what you mean :)
Well now you've gone and done it. I'm completely besides myself here. I can't wait to make this. It seems wasy enough to do while Amal sleeps. Lol. I think my husband will want to marry me again if I make this for him and I'm sure his mamma would jump for joy knowing she can eat a tartufo guilt free (for some reason she feels guilty eating traditional Italian desserts around me when we eat out bc she knows i avoid dairy and sugar).
Aw, that's so awesome :) It's a dessert my husband absolutely loved, and that's a really rare thing (since he's not into dessert at all, and isn't concerned with dairy and sugar in particular) -- he actually requested it's all kept for him, which tells me this treat will be very much "ordinary crowd" approved ?
Can I substitite the cashews for other nuts? I an intolerant to cashews.g
Hi Mary. I went with cashews just because they have a milder/neutral flavor and a light sweetness to them (so the flavor is the most like ice cream). But you can definitely use something like hazelnuts instead for a chocolate / hazelnut version, for example (though it would need to be all regular chocolate, as the white part won't be "white" with the hazelnuts). You can also use macadamia nuts if you wanted to keep both regular and white colors. The only thing to keep in mind is that I found when using other nuts I usually need to add a bit more sweetener.
This looks amazing!!!!
Izzy | Pinch of delight
Thank you! :)