“Olive oil is the hero of this dessert so make sure you use a really good quality oil in the ice-cream and the sherry cake – preferably Spanish. And don’t be put off by all the elements in this recipe – most of them can be done ahead of time, so all you have to do when it comes time to serve is to plate up.” Shane Delia, Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (32 votes)


Candied fennel

  • 150 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
  • 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin


Olive oil ice-cream

  • 220 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 170 ml (⅔ cup) Spanish olive oil
  • 750 ml (3 cups) milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
  • 1 tsp sea salt


Orange cardamom curd

  • 275 ml orange juice
  • 3 oranges, zest finely grated
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 500 g (2¼ cups) sugar
  • 5 eggs


Chocolate soil

  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g (1¼ cups) almond meal
  • 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 60 g unsalted butter, melted

Pedro Ximénez cake

  • 40 g (⅔ cup) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Pedro Ximénez sherry (see note)

To serve

  • sliced black grapes and herb flowers

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.


Drying time overnight

Freezing time 3 hours

To make the candied fennel, preheat the oven to 50°C. Place the sugar, vanilla seeds and 150 ml water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the sliced fennel and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and stand for 15 minutes. Drain the fennel and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray. Place in the oven, leaving the door slightly ajar, then leave overnight or until dry and crisp. Remove from the oven, stand until cool, then store in an airtight container until needed.

To make the ice-cream, using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar and yolks for 5 minutes until thick and pale. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream and beat for another 3 minutes or until smooth and airy. Reduce the speed to low, add the milk, cream, vanilla seeds and salt, and whisk until combined. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a jug, then refrigerate until chilled. Pour the cold custard into an ice-cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze for 3 hours or until firm.

To make the curd, place the orange juice, zest, butter, cardamom and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir until melted and smooth. Lightly beat the eggs with a hand-held whisk, then strain through a sieve into the orange mixture. Cook, stirring continuously, for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl. Cover closely with plastic wrap, cool, then refrigerate until chilled.

To make the chocolate soil, preheat the oven to 150°C. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine well. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stand until cool, then store in an airtight container.

To make the cake, lightly grease an 11 cm x 21 cm loaf tin and line with baking paper, leaving the sides overhanging. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the breadcrumbs, sugar, ras el hanout and baking powder on low speed. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil, then the eggs and beat until well combined. Pour into the prepared tin, then place in a cold oven and turn the heat on 170°C. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and pour over the sherry while the cake is still in the tin, then stand until cool.

To serve, place a small piece of cake on each serving plate. Spoon the curd into a piping bag fitted with a 5 mm nozzle and pipe small dots around each plate. Spoon a little chocolate soil beside the cake, top with a spoonful of ice-cream, then scatter with sliced black grapes and garnish with herb flowers.



• Pedro Ximénez is a dark, syrupy and sweet Spanish sherry made with the white grape of the same name. It has a unique intense raisiny flavour. Available from select bottleshops.


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.