Cranachan is an easy-to-assemble Scottish dessert.
In concept and execution, it is a bit like a trifle. You fold toasted oats, honey and Scotch whiskey into very thick cream (double cream). Ideally, you let it sit overnight (refrigerated) for flavours to marry before dishing out. Then you put into dishes, garnish with fruit, and serve. Some people put fruit at the bottom as well of the individual serving dishes.
Soft fruit such as blackberries or raspberries is often used (raspberries in the summer; blackberries in the fall.)
Some recipes call for soft crowdie cheese instead of the double cream, feeling that might be more authentic than double cream. In fact, an alternative name is “cream crowdie.”
Some people prefer to use pinhead oats (aka Steel-Cut Oats) for a finer texture; some prefer rolled oats for a coarser texture.
Some older recipes don’t call for the whisky, and say the fruit is optional.
At Hallowe’en, cranachan was sometimes served with charms mixed in it, and whatever fruit was available at the time.
It is also traditional at weddings.
Substitute for the Crowdie: Double Cream (beaten until stiff), OR Whipped Cream, OR Quark, OR Ricotta mixed with a smaller amount of Mascarpone
12 oz (350g) of berries or fruit pieces (whatever is in season)
10 oz (300 ml) of Crowdie
2 oz (50g) oats
3 tablespoons Honey
3 tablespoons Scotch Whisky
Toast the oatmeal until golden brown on a sheet under your broiler (aka grill in the UK), watching careful and turning occasionally. Set aside to cool.
To the crowdie or crowdie substitute, fold in the honey, whisky and oatmeal.
In serving glasses, layer the mixture with fruit, saving a bit of fruit for top garnish.
Cling with cling film, chill, overnight if you wish.
To serve, take out of fridge 30 minutes before. Garnish with remaining fruit and serve.
Clay, Xanthe. Recipes for Burns Night – Cranachan. London: Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2009.
Slater, Nigel. Nigel Slater’s classic cranachan recipe. Manchester: The Observer. 12 September 2010.