Limoncello Tartufo Recipe

This is the recipe for the Limoncello Tartufo that I made for Laura! Limoncello Tartufo is my favorite dessert that I used to get at Bertucci’s a long time ago. A tartufo is traditionally a vanilla ice cream ball with a filled center, usually a cherry or some nuts, rolled in chocolate shavings. A limoncello tartufo, at least from what I can remember, is a lemon ice cream ball with a lemon custard center rolled in meringue sprinkles. Bertucci’s stopped serving it and I can’t find it anywhere, so I decided to try to make it myself. I found a recipe to make a chocolate cherry tartufo online, but no limoncello – so, with my basic knowledge of a tartufo, I improvised.

I think it turned out pretty good.

Originally I tried making meringue cookies that I planned on crushing into sprinkles, but I made them too big and they ended up never hardening. Bummer! Not wanting Laura to come to the same failed result, I replaced meringue sprinkles with crushed up Nilla Wafers.

The hardest part was figuring out how I was going to accomplish making it into a circle. I thought for awhile about hollowing out a ball? Or buying a specific circle mold… but that seemed expensive. One morning I was making poached eggs and as I stared off in a trance at the rocking poachers in the bubbling water – I found my perfect, freezer-safe, mold-able half circles! Without further ado… the recipe!

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14 fl oz Häagen-Dazs Five: Lemon
Nilla Wafers

Lemon Filling Ingredients
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

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Lemon Filling

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into oven-safe casserole pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before cooling in fridge until no longer hot (about 2-3 hours). If you’re not in a rush, I recommend leaving it overnight.

Lemon Filling

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Limoncello Tartufo

Fill 2 egg poachers halfway with Häagen-Dazs Five: Lemon ice cream. Make sure that the ice cream conforms to the egg poacher half circle shape. Place in freezer for half an hour to re-freeze (it melts easily from your hand holding it).

Lemon Gelato Goodness

Use melon baller to scoop a small half circle out of the center of the ice cream half circles. Fill the half circle hole with the lemon filling – make sure the lemon filling has a flat top matching the ice cream. Place in freezer for 1 hour to re-freeze.

They do kind of look like eggs...

Using a spoon and the warmth of your hands, separate the ice cream from 1 of the egg poachers. Place that ice cream half circle on top of the remaining ice cream half-circle still in the egg poacher. Using a spoon, push the ice cream together to close the gap and form an ice cream ball. Place in freezer for 1 hour to re-freeze.

Ice cream ball!

Crush up the Nilla Wafers and place on cutting board or counter. Remove the ice cream ball from egg poacher. Roll ice cream ball in crushed Nilla Wafers until coated. Cut into fourths or serve whole; 1 ball serves 2 people.


If you’d like to see more mouth-watering pictures of the Limoncello Tartufo and my apron process photos, check out my flickr set!


For Laura!