Cranachan

This deliciously light, easy-to-make dessert of fresh raspberries, heather honey, rolled oats, whisky and cream is quintessentially Scottish.

Soaking time: 12 hoursPreparation time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: EasyServes: 4

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tbsp medium rolled oats
  • 300g/11oz/2 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 40g/1.5oz/3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 400ml/4dl/3/4 pt/1 3/4 cups of double cream
  • 3-4 tbsp heather honey
  • 3-4 tbsp Scottish whisky

Make it vegan: use plant based cream instead of double cream. You can also replace honey with a brand of vegan honey, or even with maple syrup.

Special Equipment

  • A large frying pan
  • Two bowls
  • A saucepan
  • A sieve
  • A whisk
  • A large mixing bowl
  • Serving bowls or glasses

Method

  1. Add the oats and half the sugar to a large saucepan and set it over a low- medium heat. Toast them, stirring almost constantly, until they’re browned and smell nutty.
  2. Wait for the toasted oats to cool, then pour them into a small bowl with half of the whisky. Leave them to soak overnight.
  3. The next day, add a third of the raspberries, the remaining sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water to a saucepan and set it over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the raspberries have disintegrated and formed a liquid. Then strain the raspberry liquid through a sieve into a bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form, then stir in the honey and remaining whisky.
  5. Assemble the Cranachan in serving glasses or dishes. Alternate between layers of the cream mixture, oats, raspberry coulis and whole raspberries, finishing with a few raspberries on top for decoration.
  6. Bon Appetit/Ith gu leòir!

Tips

  • Keep a very close eye on the oats as they’re being toasted, stir them constantly, and remove them from the heat as soon as they’re nicely browned and starting to smell nutty. They burn very very easily, and will do so with alarming ease if you take your eye off them for even a few seconds.
  • If you prefer, you don’t have to strain the cooked raspberries- you can just add them, seeds and all, to the finished Cranachan.

Background

Pronunciation: /ˈkʰɾan̪ˠəxan/ (CRAH-nuh-kun)

Home: Scotland

Relatives: Crowdie (Scotland), Eton Mess (England), Pavlova (Australia)

History

Cranachan (which is Scottish Gaelic for ‘to churn’) is known as Crowdie Cream in some parts of Scotland. This is likely because the dessert developed from an old breakfast dish called Cream Crowdie, a mix of oats, heather honey and Crowdie (a creamy soft cheese) which, over time, began to incorporate Scottish raspberries and substituted double cream for Crowdie. The addition of cream and raspberries made Cranachan more like a dessert than a breakfast, and as such it’s now commonly eaten as an after dinner treat, especially on special occasions like Christmas and Burns Night.

Cranachan’s primary ingredients are all grown or made in Scotland. Heather honey is a smoky, woody product, traditionally harvested on Scottish moorlands. Oatmeal is a Scottish staple food, widely grown in the country as the oat crop is better suited to the the Scottish climate than other grains are. Oats are used in porridge, Brose, stuffing, oatcakes, Haggis, and black and white puddings. Though they’re native to far-off western Asia (possibly Anatolia), raspberries also grow very successfully in Scotland: the east coast’s fertile soil, moderate climate and long daylight hours in summer are particularly good for the fruit, and as such the region produces a huge yield of tart, full bodied raspberries every year. Scotland’s whisky needs no introduction. The spirit has been distilled in Scotland since at least 1494, when records suggest several bolls of malt whisky were given to Lindores Abbey, Fife, to be developed into aqua vitae, a component needed for gunpowder production. Whisky at the time had quite a harsh taste, as it was not left to age, but it became smoother and tastier over the years as the distillation process developed. After the Act of Union with England (1707), Scottish whisky was subject to harsh taxes, and much of the whisky industry was forced underground: restrictions only began to ease in the early 19th century. Today, there are over a hundred whisky distilleries in Scotland, and Scottish whisky is sold around the world. Combined together, these ingredients form a quintessentially Scottish dish.

Isle of Skye, Scotland
Luis Ascenso Photography, Blue is coming in Quiraing, 2014 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_is_coming_in_Quiraing_(14942990740).jpg> [Accessed 20/05/2020] (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

2 thoughts on “Cranachan

  1. This dish looks so healthy and perfect for a breakfast that can give me the right start for the day. I love trying out new dishes and this is definitely going to be on my list. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more such amazing dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: