Make Ahead

Chocolate Rum Balls “Kartoshka”, Chocolate Icebox Cake and Chocolate Roll (One Recipe Three Decadent Desserts)

October 25, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8 to10 depending on size
Author Notes

If you go to a fancy pastry shop in Russia or now days in America, you will see behind the counter, next to the delicate and colorful Parisian-style mille-Feuillet’s and fruit tartlets and cream-filled éclairs, something that looks like nothing more or less than a little potato. It is coaled “Kartoshka” a favorite pastry of many kids and adults as well. The name comes from Russian potato, as the pastry looks like it. These are easy to make and require absolutely no baking or prep work. The pastries come in many deferent coatings: cocoa powder, coconut shavings, powdered sugar, nuts, chocolate sprinkles and melted chocolate. Following the same recipe you can make also a Chocolate Ice Box cake or Chocolate Rolls (photo #8) which are filled with Fruit Jellies, pieces of dried fruits, marshmallows, broken nut-brittles and keep in the freezer for weeks. The butter, cookies, chocolate and milk all really become one and just melt into each other. It makes for amazingly creamy fudge-like or truffle pastries. I dare you to eat just one. There are many versions of the recipe for "Kartoshka". Here is mine, which I coated in cocoa powder and decorated with some chocolate sprinkles, cranberries in powdered sugar and pomegranate seeds (photo #6). —Kukla

What You'll Need
  • All ingredients for the pastries or Chocolate Icebox Cake
  • • 1/2 pound (8oz) dry sponge cake crumbs or 1 package (7oz) of sweet tea biscuits
  • • 1/2 cup of toasted pecans or walnuts
  • • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • • 1/2 cup cocoa powder or 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • • 1 stick unsalted softened butter
  • • 3/4 cup unsweetened evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • • 3 tablespoons dark rum (cognac can be used instead)
  • • 12 All Natural deferent Fruit Jellies (for cake)
  • • 6 Pastila sticks (for cake)
  • To assemble the Chocolate Icebox Cake
  1. All ingredients for the pastries or Chocolate Icebox Cake
  2. Start by crushing the sponge cake or tea biscuits and nuts into a flour or slightly more coarse consistency in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Use a large wooden spoon to slowly mix the ingredients together. It will first form clumps, but the longer you work at it the more butter will be mixed into the ingredients. You want to reach a sticky, uniform mix that can be rolled into balls.
  4. Roll the mix into balls and coat with anything you desire. Chill and serve! It actually keeps best in the freezer, so you can just keep a few in there until you have company or want a sweet treat.
  1. To assemble the Chocolate Icebox Cake
  2. Divide the chocolate mix in 3 equal portions. Line an 8 by 4 by 2 1/2-inch baking loaf pan with aluminum foil and plastic wrap (overlapping a few inches).
  3. Evenly spread one portion of the chocolate mix in the bottom; then top with all 12 of the Fruit Jellies.
  4. Cover with the second portion of chocolate mix; then top with Pastila sticks. Top with the remaining chocolate mix. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour.
  5. Melt 1/2 cup of bitter-sweet chocolate and cover the top of chilled cake. Freeze until ready to serve.
  6. Note: Pastila is a traditional useful dainty that is known and loved since childhood. The word «Pastila» comes from Latin «pastillus» that means a cookie. This confectionary is cooked by whipping fruit-berry sauce with sugar and egg-whites and then by mixing it with hot paste syrup made of sugar, molasses and agar- agar (paste pastila) or with jelly mass (custard pastila).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kukla
  • Bevi
  • Niknud
  • Masharik

6 Reviews

Masharik November 13, 2011
I tried this recipe as it used to be my favorite pastry when i lived in St. Petersburg. After putting in the 3/4 cup cream, the mixture was extremely watery and I could not form the "Kartoshka". Is this recipe correct or am I doing something wrong - as I followed it perfectly? I put the mixture in the freezer which did harden it up but then as I started to form it again, it quickly began to melt and could not form the pastry.
Kukla November 13, 2011
Thank you for the comment Masharik! I am very sorry and can not imagine why the mixture became so loose. I made this recipe so many times and never had such problem, and when I give any of my recipes, it is always very precise. As you can see in the photos, all three desserts are holding their shape.
1. Maybe the butter was too soft, it should be just soften and not room temperature.
2. I usually use melted chocolate instead of cocoa and this step also helps to solidify the mixture.
3. Mix in the cream or evaporated milk slowly and if you feel that it is enough only 1/2 a cup or less, just do not pour more.
Kukla October 25, 2011
Thank you Niknud! It is so thrilling to receive such beautiful comments.
Kukla October 25, 2011
Thank you Bevi! It is so easy to make.
Bevi October 25, 2011
My goodness - this looks like a gold bar wrapped in chocolate!
Niknud October 25, 2011
I was going to say it looks like holiday love wrapped in a hug!