Spanish Almond Cream (Bienmesabe) Recipe

Spanish almond cream with caramel
Philippe Desnerck/ Photolibrary/ Getty Images
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
411 Calories
23g Fat
46g Carbs
11g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spanish Almond Cream, called bienmesabe,  is made of ground almonds, sugar syrup, cinnamon and lemon zest. A big, gooey spoonful turns vanilla ice cream into a divine Spanish dessert! Bienmesabe is an ancient dessert of Arabic origin and still very popular in the Canary Islands.

Time-saving tip: Use blanched, slivered almonds to reduce preparation time by 20 minutes.


  • 2 1/4 cups almonds (blanched and peeled)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 egg yolks

Steps to Make It

  1. If using raw almonds, blanch and peel almonds. (Learn how to blanch almonds here.) Blanching the almonds will take about 20 minutes start to finish.

  2. After blanching, place almonds on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown (about 5 minutes) under the broiler.

  3. Remove almonds from oven and process in a food processor until they are finely ground. Be sure that the blade in the food processor is sharp or the almonds will not be fine, but "chunky."

  4. Pour water into a saucepan and place on medium heat. Bring water to a boil and add sugar and dissolve to make a syrup.

  5. Stir in ground almonds, cinnamon and grated lemon peel. Reduce heat to low, stirring constantly as mixture cooks and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  6. When the mixture has cooled for about 30 minutes, beat the egg yolks, then fold them into the pan, stirring constantly. Return pan to medium heat until it boils, then remove from stove and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  7. Serve warm in individual bowls or with vanilla ice cream.