Scottish heritage recipes – Cranachan

 In Desserts, Fruit, Fruit, Vegetables and Cereals, Ingredients, Recipes, Scottish Heritage, Summer, Whisky, Winter

CranachanI rarely make desserts. I’ve mentioned this before. The desserts of my childhood, which I would have every day when being looked after by my Gran, were simple affairs, ground rice or custard, lovingly made to order and always with a square of cooking chocolate or a cube of jelly melted in the middle. Or they were shop bought apple pies with cream, or my favourite rhubarb crumble, in fact any crumble but rhubarb was the only one that I actually enjoyed the hot, slightly sweet, slightly tangy fruit lurking beneath as much as the buttery richness of the topping. Always with custard, always. Please never offer me cream or ice cream with crumble.


Then I discovered cranachan. That Scottish dessert that sounds more like a mountain or a shinty team and which signals the end of a traditional Burns supper. I’ve no idea when this tradition started, given that January is not exactly fruit picking weather in Scotland, and if you’re going to make cranachan why settle for anything other than Scottish raspberries? However tradition it is and so after my first ever Burns supper I was hooked. It should come as no surprise to the uninitiated that this dessert is wonderfully warming and luxurious. If you put five of the finest ingredients known to man; double cream, oatmeal, whisky, raspberries and heather honey together only an fool could fail to bring joy to your palate. However the sum of the parts surpasses even how good you imagine it’s going to be.

Therefore I urge you to rummage around in the freezer for the last of the bags of frozen raspberries you picked in the summer sunshine and make this dessert as summertime begins again. Just make sure that you understand the concept of soft peaks.


  • 60g Fine oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons Whisky (I like to use Aberlour)
  • 500ml Double cream
  • 3 tablespoons Heather honey
  • 250g Raspberries


1. Toast the oatmeal gently and leave to cool before soaking in the whisky

2. Add the cream and honey together and whisk into soft peaks, the softness is essential so don’t overwork

3. Add the oatmeal to the cream and mix together

4. Serve with the raspberries

Traditionally the oatmeal, cream and raspberries would be laid out separately to allow guests to help themselves in their preferred quantity.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Alyce Morgan

    Saving the recipe for summer when my hips can better bear the cream. No double cream in Colorado! BTW–I had trouble printing this. Clicking on the print icon brought up only a photo and a title with date. When I copied just the recipe and pasted into Word, the recipe prints in pale green? Could be my machines, but thought I’d mention it. Happy Burns Night!

    • Graeme Taylor

      Hi Alyce, thanks for that, shall take a look.

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