There is this little Italian restaurant in Provo called Gloria’s Little Italy with the best desserts. One of our favorites is their chocolate “tartufo” – basically a giant ball of cake filled with their Italian creme, and served hot. I am pretty sure they make it from their cake trimmings and fill it with the extra Italian creme that they also use in their cakes (which are delicious!).
I am really not very familiar with authentic Italian food – so after a little Google research at an attempt to recreate it – I found out that the dessert that they serve at Little Italy is a little different than the traditional tartufo. Typically, a tartufo is a fancy way to serve gelato – usually a scoop of the Italian ice cream with some type of coating on the outside. Many of the recipes I found online suggested rolling the gelato in cookie crumbs after placing a cherry in the middle of the scoop.
So although this version has a different taste than Little Italy’s (using custard in the middle instead of Italian creme), it is inspired by the same dessert. I decided to use one of my favorite custard recipes for the center, and my go-to dark chocolate cake recipe for the coating. And, of course, I topped with an almond ganache. It’s the perfect combo for a rich, decadent dessert! Bon appétit!
This dessert is made up of three parts – the custard center, chocolate cake coating, and ganache glaze. First, you will need to make your custard.
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- zest from 1/2 lemon (about 1 packed teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- pinch of nutmeg
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- Pour 3 cups of milk into a large heavy pot and gently bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- While the milk is warming – cream together egg yolks, sugar and salt. Blend until the mixture turns a lighter color. Add in flour, and mix well. Then, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and mix until all of the lumps are gone.
- When the milk begins to boil, immediately reduce the heat to low. Very slowly, wisk in the egg mixture. Turn the heat back up to medium-high, and bring back to a boil. Simmer the cream for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, and stir in lemon zest, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Let the cream cool for about 10 minutes, then add in butter. Let it melt from the heat of the cream, then stir to combine.
- Let cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Stir it well, then move to freezer for at least 8 hours, or until firm.
Once your custard is completely frozen, use an ice cream scoop to form 2-inch scoops. Return the scoops of frozen custard to freezer while you prepare your cake.
Dark Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract