The best Cranachan!

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Cream, whisky and honey: three tremendous ingredient in their own right that combine to give the most delicious concoction: perfect as a filling for cakes, but wonderful mixed with toasted oats for a dessert such as Cranachan.

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Cranachan is a very easy and quick dessert and is fabulous served in small glasses. While I often serve it on New Year’s Eve, I love to eat Cranachan in the summer as soon my raspberries are ready to be picked.

Cranachan is also great way to use up frozen raspberries that might be lurking in the freezer – similarly with any berries for that matter: you really don’t need to be fully traditional with food and purists welcome to whimper in protest!

And speaking of non-traditional, how about a Cranachan roulade: basically a standard Swiss Roll sponge, with Cranachan recipe below spread over the cooled sponge before being rolled up:

You don’t even need to to defrost the berries if you are using frozen – just use them straight from the freezer and break them up with your fingers as you layer up the dessert. They will thaw quickly enough in the dessert, although if you want to serve the Cranachan as soon as you have made it and there are still chunks of frozen raspberries in there, you get wonderful bursts of sharpness, sorbet-like, amid the comforting whisky honey cream.

I sometimes add a little cake/trifle sponges/ladies’ fingers soaked in honey and whisky at the bottom so that this veers a little towards a trifle but I usually just roughly layer it up with the cream mixture, raspberries and the toasted oats.

Toasted oats

I just use standard rolled oats which I oven-bake/toast the oats with a little sugar so that they slightly start to caramelise: the addition of the sugar is not essential but I like the flavour it brings. I occasionally add some almonds or other nuts I have lying around – just coarsely chopped into smallish pieces

I sometimes toast a large amount of oats on a few baking trays, cool them, and pop them into airtight jars so that if I want an even quicker Cranachan, I can use these just as they are: these toasted oats are perfect for sprinkling over ice cream, too!

Reducing the fat content

The cream, whisky and honey combination gives the best level of indulgence here, but if you want to cut down the fat but still have a luscious dessert you can replace up to half of the cream with a good Greek yoghurt: just whip the cream/honey/whisky and fold in the yoghurt.

Recipe: the best Cranachan – serves 6

  • 6 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 500ml double cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons whisky
  • 300g or so of raspberries (fresh or frozen)

(1) Spread the oats onto a baking tray and sprinkle over the caster sugar. Pop into the oven set at about 170C (fan) for about 15-20 minutes, turning from time to time, until they turn deep golden. Be careful so that they do not burn and go bitter.

(2) Put the cream, honey, icing sugar and whisky into a bowl and whisk gently until lightly whipped and soft peaks form. Taste this and feel free to add a little more honey and/or whisky if you think it needs it!

(3) Spoon some of the cream mixture into the bottom of the serving glasses and sprinkle over some of the oats and the raspberries. Repeat the layering up one or two more times. Chill until you want to serve.

NB: you can also pass some of the raspberries through a sieve (defrost any frozen ones though) to give a deliciously sharp purée to spoon over the tops.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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