Release the Cranachan…
This Scottish dessert of Cranachan (pronounced CRA-NA-HCHAN) is not a sea-dwelling monster from Norse mythology but instead a delicious concoction of oats, cream or yogurt and raspberries. It is also one of my family’s favorite desserts which I only make on special occasions like Christmas or anniversaries.
Over the years I have experimented with different ways of putting this beloved dessert together. I tried crunchy granola, oven-toasted oats, fresh raspberries, yogurt, you name it.
What I found worked best was a mixture of sweet and creamy creme Anglaise (aka custard), a homemade tart raspberry sauce and an oatcake crumble. Why the oatcakes, you may ask? Well, it turns out that those tasty little oatcakes soak up the whisky like a dream.
The result is a more balanced flavor as opposed to a heavy-handed swig of booze at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t get me wrong-I love heavy-handed swigs of good Scotch but not in my dessert.
The raspberry sauce does its job by pairing well with the whisky and everything is covered in a soft and creamy custard. Throw it all together to make individual parfaits or make a trifle for everyone to share. The choice is yours, just remember to use good Scotch whisky!
To whisky or not to whisky…
This may surprise you but Scotland is full of delicious food. Black pudding, scallops, salmon, raspberries and of course, Scotch whisky. I have found that no two glasses of whisky taste the same so it is up to you which kind you like best but if you are not a fan or do not imbibe alcohol, no problem.
You can just leave out the alcohol or even serve it on the side for those who like whisky. This tasty treat tastes just as good without the booze as it does when it has soaked into the oats so the choice is up to you. BUT, whatever you do, don’t substitute Bourbon. Bourbon, as tasty as it is, is just a tad too sweet for this dessert.
My take on Cranachan, the classic Scottish dessert of cream, raspberries, oats and whisky. A heavenly and boozy parfait perfect for celebrating. #desserts #cream #raspberries #whisky #recipe #oats
Scottish Oat Cakes
2 cups dried rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
100–140 ml hot boiling water
12 oz / 340 g frozen raspberries
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup/ 240 ml water
1–2 tbsp lime juice (1 tbsp if you like it sweet, 2 tbsp if you like it tart)
Creme Anglaise (aka custard)
1/2 cup / 120 ml whole milk
1 cup / 240 ml whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean cut down the middle with seeds scraped out
4 egg yolks
4 splashes of good Scottish whisky (optional)
Scottish Oat Cakes
Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.
In a medium to large mixing bowl, whisk together sugars with melted butter.
Add sea salt, baking soda and flour to sugar mixture and mix until evenly combined.
Add 2 cups of dried rolled oats and toss together until everything is evenly coated in the flour mixture.
Slowly stir in boiling water to dried oat mixture a little at a time until a dough forms. You might need more or less hot water depending on the type of oats you use and how they soak up the water, so proceed with caution and go slowly. You want enough water for the dough to come together and keep its shape. It should be soft and slightly sticky to the touch (like normal cookie dough).
Spread dough out into a thin layer onto greaseproof paper. If you are feeling creative, you can bust out the cookie cutters and cut the oak cakes into different shapes.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
In a medium-size saucepan, combine frozen raspberries, water, sugar and lime juice together.
Place on stove and cook on high heat until you reach a boil.
Reduce heat to medium or low (whichever produces a consistent low simmer) and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the desired consistency (sauce should have the consistency of a raspberry jam).
Creme Anglaise (aka Custard)
In a medium saucepan, whisk together whole milk, whipping cream and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until you’ve reached a simmer. Make sure to watch it carefully and give it a stir every now and again to prevent scorching on the bottom. DO NOT BRING TO A ROLLING BOIL!
Meanwhile, while the cream mixture is warming up, whisk together egg yolks with sugar in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
When the cream mixture has produced a slight simmer (you don’t want it too hot otherwise you risk curdling the egg yolks), turn off the heat.
Add 2-3 large spoonfuls of the cream mixture and add it to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk together until smooth then add an additional 2-3 large spoonfuls of cream to the egg yolk mixture. Whisk until smooth.
Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the cream mixture and whisk together until smooth. If it is lumpy, the cream mixture is too hot and you have to start over again. If the cream mixture is too runny, cook on low for 2-5 minutes until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Strain if needed, pour the custard into a large bowl or jug and let cool in the refrigerator. The sauce will thicken as it gets cold.
Crumble up oatcakes and put an ounce or two into a bowl, glass or parfait dish. If you are adding whisky to it, add a dash to the oatcake crumble to soak up. A little goes a long way, so I recommend starting off with 1 tbsp of whisky but if you like more, go for it.
When the oat cake crumbles has soaked up the booze, add 1-2 spoonfuls of raspberry sauce on top, followed by the custard on top of that (should be around 1/3 cup). Leave it be or top it off with a spoonful of raspberry sauce on top.
Cover with plastic wrap and let cool in the refrigerator for an hour or two. The longer it sits, the more the whisky is infused into the dessert, so keep that in mind.
Did something happen with the custard? Did it took out all lumpy and a total fail? Don’t sweat it, just substitute plain old vanilla ice cream. It’s basically the same thing but just with a few more added ingredients. Just make sure to chill your Cranakan in the freezer instead of the fridge!
If you are using vanilla bean for your custard, split it lengthwise down the middle and scrap out the seeds into the cream mixture along with the husk. Simmer together then strain at the very end.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Parfait
- Cuisine: Scottish
Keywords: cranachan, parfait, dessert, raspberries, cream, custard, oats, whisky
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