Citizens, this is a delicious and simple dessert from Scotland, properly pronounced “CRAH-nuh-kun”. This traditional Highland dish is served on special occasions such as Christmas, Hogmanay, and Burns Night.
Cranachan in modern times is usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted pinhead oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky.
Earlier recipes used crowdie cheese rather than (or as well as) cream and were sometimes called cream-crowdie. Other earlier recipes are more austere, omitting the whisky and treating the fruit as an optional extra.
A traditional way to serve cranachan is to bring dishes of each ingredient to the table so that each person can assemble their dessert to taste. Tall dessert glasses are often used to serve.
It was originally (i.e. before the days of refrigeration) a summer dish and often consumed around harvest time (the Scottish raspberry harvest is in June) but is now more likely to be served all year round or on special occasions.
You could, I suppose, think of this recipe as “an adult parfait” but that is maligning the reputation and honor of this ancient and noble dessert, which far predates such modern contrivances! The Scots have truly perfected this recipe and while I have made minor adjustments, it is very much true to the original highlands version!
Try this recipe on your next Burns Night celebration, or anytime you just want to enjoy the flavors of Summer in your dessert experience!
My version adds a touch of blackberries to the classic raspberry version – I find it better suits my palate that way. I’ve also made very specific recommendations as to the specific kind of whisky to use – I strongly suggest you follow my lead on this one, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo