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How to Make Scottish Cranachan

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.



Cranachan and the Mystery of the Definitive Recipe

Cranachan is probably the most famous Scottish dessert recipe. It is usually made by combining fresh Scottish raspberries with cream, whisky, oatmeal and even honey.

The unusual thing about Cranachan is the number of incredibly varied and even contradictory recipes that can be found for its preparation. This is one interpretation of Cranachan but you will find a "Useful Links" section at the bottom of this page which will hopefully help to demonstrate the inconsistencies and differences of opinion which exist.

Gather your ingredients.

Gather your ingredients.

Cranachan Ingredients

  • 12 fresh Scottish raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon single malt whisky (see very important note below)
  • 2 fluid ounces fresh double cream (heavy cream in the USA)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon medium oatmeal

A Word About the Whisky Used in Cranachan

Very often, Cranachan will be prepared using Drambuie, which is a Scottish whisky liqueur. In this instance, the honey should be omitted from the recipe or at least significantly reduced in quantity as Drambuie already contains honey and other sweeteners.

When using single malt as in this recipe, avoid using an overly peaty type such as Laphroaig or Ardbeg. A smoother-flavoured whisky such as Glenmorangie, or as in this instance, Jura, will make for a much more enjoyable dish.

Cranachan Instructions

  1. Although it is not absolutely essential, I like to steep the raspberries in the whisky for around an hour before assembling the cranachan. I simply add the raspberries to a glass bowl, pour over the whisky and stir very gently, so as not to damage the raspberries. I then cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate.
  2. The only cooking required in this Cranachan recipe is the toasting of the oatmeal. A dry frying pan should be brought to fairly high heat and the oatmeal added. It will take five minutes or so to toast and care is required to ensure that it doesn't burn. The pan should be gently shaken at regular intervals to ensure even toasting and should not be left unattended.
  3. Assembling the Cranachan begins with adding the raspberries and the whisky to a small glass serving dish. The honey should then be spooned over the top.
  4. The cream should be whipped to the stage where it starts to form soft peaks.
  5. The oatmeal should then be scattered on top as an effective garnish. If desired, a little more honey can be drizzled lightly and carefully over the oatmeal as a finishing touch.

Ideally, the Cranachan should be served immediately.

This cranachan is ready to serve!

This cranachan is ready to serve!

© 2010 Gordon Hamilton