serves: about 20 truffles
Tartufi made with homemade chocolate ice cream are delicious. You can make your life simpler by substituting store-bought ice cream and proceeding to form and coat the tartufi as described.
1 quart milk
1½ cups cocoa powder, sifted
5 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2 cups shelled hazelnits, toasted
¾ heavy cream
Whisk the milk and cocoa powder together in a small heavy saucepan until blended. Set over low and cook, stirring constantly until the cocoa is completely dissolved.
In a second small heavy saucepan whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and lemon colored. Ladle the hot cocoa mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Set the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly until dense and creamy, about 3 minutes. Strain into a bowl and cool to room temperature, covered with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface.
If you have an ice cream maker, freeze the chocolate mixture in it according to manufacturer's directions. If not, place the bowl in the freezer and freeze, stirring occasionally, until frozen, but still soft and moldable.
To form the truffles: using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop, drop them onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Return the ice cream immediately to the freezer. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Count out and reserve as many whole hazelnuts as there are truffles and chop the remaining hazelnuts to the size of the chopped chocolate. Toss the chopped hazelnuts and the chocolate together on a baking sheet.
Press a whole hazelnut into the center of an ice cream ball, then roll it in the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts. Return to the wax paper-lined tray and, when all are coated, return the tray to the freezer. Depending on the temperature and how quickly the truffles start to melt, you may have to do them in batches. Freeze at least 2 hours or up to one day.
To serve, let the truffles stand at room temperature about 5 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream in a chilled bowl until it holds stiff peaks. To serve the truffles on plates, divide the whipped cream among chilled plates, mounding it in the center. Top with tartuffi. To serve the truffles 'buffet style,' place a small dollop on soup spoons and top each with an individual truffle. Serve immediately.