Ras-el-Hanout Ice-Cream with Grilled Almonds (Moroccan Series # 9)

Ras-el-Hanout Ice-Cream with Grilled Almonds

Ras-el-Hanout Ice-Cream with Grilled Almonds

Do you ever feel like shouting, “Look what I made!”? I so wanted to when I first savoured a spoon of this exotic ice-cream. You see, I finally bought an ice-cream maker this summer, and couldn’t wait to try this recipe. As I mentioned before, I have been cooking my way through Elizabeth Bard’s, “Picnic In Provence”. She and her husband are the owners of Scaramouche Ice-Cream shop in Paris and she created this recipe as an homage to her husband’s Moroccan heritage. Ras-el-Hanout is the iconic spice mix of Morocco and is used to flavour various tagines or couscous. But in ice-cream? Well, it is sublime!

I have to be honest with you… the first time I made it, I added garlic to the ras-el-hanout mix. Well, the fragrance was a bit curious, but we all scarfed the ice-cream down in one sitting. The second time around, I eliminated the garlic and everything about it was divine. This ice-cream would be gorgeous with a warm, apple pie. I served it with pumpkin pie and it was to die for.

I will be sharing this post with my buddies at Fiesta Friday, co-hosted by Mollie @ FrugalHausFrau, and  Johanne @ French Gardener DishesThrowback ThursdayFoodie FriDIY, and Saucy Saturdays.


Ras-el-Hanout Ice-Cream with Grilled Almonds

  • Difficulty: Moderate
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1/3 cup sliced almonds

4 egg yolks

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 ½ teaspoons ras-el-hanout


Toast the almond slices in a small frying pan, until golden. Remove from the frying pan to a plate and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until a light lemon yellow. Set aside.

Prepare an ice bath – a large mixing bowl full of ice cubes. Set aside. Find your fine mesh strainer and leave it near the ice bath.

Pour the milk and cream into a medium saucepan and add the ras-el-hanout. Heat over a low flame, until it is just about to boil. Turn off the flame, then slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking quickly and continuously to combine.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the cream coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

Immediately pour the custard through the fine-mesh strainer back into the mixing bowl. Cool briefly in the ice bath, whisking for a few minutes until the cream has cooled a bit. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, if possible for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Freeze in your home ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

After churning, mix in the toasted almonds. Freeze in an airtight container for an hour or two before serving.

Keeps about a week, but in terms of texture, it is the best if it is eaten the day that it is churned.


The Iconic Spice Mix of Morocco

The Iconic Spice Mix of Morocco

Ras-el-Hanout Spice Mix

Ras-el-Hanout is the defining flavour of Morocco. It is known as the country’s “National Spice Mix”. The name actually means “heap of the shop” or “top of the shop” and every household and spice vendor will have their own recipe. The constants are coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and some form of heat in the way of chiles and pepper. This recipe is based on the one given in “Mourad: New Moroccan” by Mourad Lahlou. He used a number of spices that I didn’t have, so I left them out. His recipe also calls for garlic powder. I used this in my first recipe for the ice-cream, but the second time I made it, I eliminated the garlic and it made a much nicer spice mix for the ice-cream.

Ras-el-Hanout Spice Mix


Whole spices to be toasted: Measure these and put them in a medium heavy frying pan or cast-iron skillet.

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

1½ tablespoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons lemon peel

1¼ teaspoons fennel seeds

14 allspice berries

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

One 1½-inch piece cinnamon stick broken into pieces

10 green cardamom pods, shelled and seeds reserved

½ teaspoon peppercorns

2 black cardamom pods, shelled and seeds reserved

¼ teaspoon whole mace

1 chile de arbol

8 whole cloves

1 star anise

Whole spices you won’t toast: Measure them and put them in a bowl.

3 teaspoons dried rosebuds

½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds

Ground spices: Measure these and stir them together in a separate bowl.

2 ¼ teaspoons powdered ginger

2 ½ teaspoons grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon citric acid


Place the toasting spices in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast gently until they are fragrant. This should take about 4 – 5 minutes. They will begin to smoke and smell nutty, but should not burn. It is better to under-toast them rather than burn them, as they will become bitter. Once they have toasted, remove them to a piece of parchment paper. Do not leave them in the frying pan, as they will continue to toast.

Add the first and second group of spices to your spice grinder and grind until they are finely powdered. Place them in a bowl and add the last group of spices and mix them all well. Store in a glass jar.

Perfect with Pumpkin Pie

Perfect with Pumpkin Pie


45 Responses to “Ras-el-Hanout Ice-Cream with Grilled Almonds (Moroccan Series # 9)”

  1. Elaine @ foodbod

    Wow! I was prepared to be dubious when I saw the title appear in my inbox, but reading your post and thinking about the flavours, I can imagine it’s a really warm, autumnal/winters taste. Great!!!

  2. Jess

    This sounds so intriguing! I’ve never heard of these spices being used in ice cream but that doesn’t make me one bit less interested to know how they taste. It does seem like it would go perfectly with a carb-y fall dessert. Very nice 😀

    • chefjulianna

      Hey Jess, well I wouldn’t want to give you guys all a bad recipe ! 🙂 But trust me, this has fall all over it! Happy weekend to you!

    • chefjulianna

      Hey Josette! Glad you like this! Wish I could take the credit for the recipe itself, but Elizabeth Bard has so many wonderful recipes in her books! 😀

    • chefjulianna

      Hey Hilda! Nice to hear from you! Are you taking a break these days? Well, the original recipe had some other ingredients that would add to the complexity of the spice mix, but I found that this recipe really lends itself well to the ice-cream. I am going to try it in some savoury recipes next… a nice tagine I think!

  3. Johanne Lamarche

    Oh my this looks unbelievable good. Big fan of the book too. Such an amazing combination of spices, this ice cream would have complex layers of flavor. Pairing it with pumpkin pie is just brilliant. Did you save me some?

    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Judi! Yes, I guess that I neglected to mention that in my post! I just got really carried away with all of the excitement and I do love making my own spice mixes! 😀

  4. Loretta

    An ice cream with the exotic flavors of Morocco? Bring it on Juliana? How pretty unusual and tempting at the same time! It’s great trying out recipes that you would not even dream of. Yours turned out truly wonderful, those layers of deliciousness had to have been slowly devoured to taste the goodness in its entirety. Well done my friend 🙂

  5. petra08

    what a gorgeous recipe! I bought an ice cream machine but have only done it a few times, by far not enough! I love this twist, it sounds and looks yummy! 🙂 Have a great week! 🙂

  6. Angie | Fiesta Friday

    Ras el hanout in ice cream?! You’re killing me!! I need to pay closer attention to you, Julianna. A lot CLOSER!! Coz you’ve been churning out unbelievable recipes, one after another, ALL jaw dropping super duper creative! And for that, you must be punished! By cohosting FF! Pick your week 😄😄

    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Monika! I was really excited about the outcome of this ice-cream! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Happy weekend to you ! 😀

  7. Marguerite

    Oh my gosh! Do I need an ice cream maker or can I try this recipe without? A friend just gifted me some ras el hanout!


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