“Also known as snake or serpent cake in reference to its coiled shaped, m’hencha is a traditional Moroccan filo dish that can be filled with just about anything. The filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until required. While apricot and basil might seem like a strange combination for ice-cream, basil is actually a really sweet herb, so complements all the sweet notes in the pastry.” Shane Delia, Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey






Skill level

Average: 3 (15 votes)


Apricot and basil ice-cream

  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 bunches basil, leaves picked
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 litre thickened cream
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 320 g (1 cup) apricot jam



  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 350 g slivered pistachios
  • 130 g grated palm sugar
  • 1 g saffron powder
  • 10 g ground ginger
  • 150 g clarified butter or ghee, melted
  • 4 sheets filo pastry
  • 1 egg yolk
  • icing sugar and ground cinnamon, for dusting

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 30 minutes

Freezing time 3 hours

To make the ice cream, place the sugar and basil in a food processor and blitz until the basil is very finely chopped. Place the basil sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks until thick and pale. Add the cooled basil syrup and combine well. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form, then fold in the basil mixture and season with black pepper to taste. Gently fold through the apricot jam to create a ripple effect. Pour into a container and freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm. Allow to soften slightly before serving.

Meanwhile, to make the m’hencha, place the chocolate, pistachios, palm sugar, saffron and ginger in a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour in 1-2 tablespoons melted butter or just enough to bring the mixture together into paste. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Working with 1 sheet of filo pastry at a time, and keeping the others covered to prevent them drying out, brush 1 sheet with a little melted butter. Roll one-quarter of the chocolate paste into a long finger and place along one long side of the filo pastry, coming to about 4 cm from each end. Loosely roll up the filo, then gently push the ends into the centre like an accordion. This relaxes the pastry so it doesn’t crack when you shape it. Carefully shape the log into a small coil and tuck the ends underneath. Place on a baking paper-lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining pastry and chocolate paste. Brush each of the rolls with beaten egg yolk, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon and serve hot with the ice-cream.


Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey starts Thursday 15 October 2015 at 8pm on SBS and finishes 17 December 2015. Visit the Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Shane.