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Cranachan – one of the best Scottish desserts that’s easy to make

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Cranachan is a simple Scottish dessert made with an even simpler recipe using rolled oats, raspberries, cream and whisky. There’s a reason why it’s also known as the King of Scottish desserts. Make it in under 30 minutes.

The best part of this traditional Scottish recipe is that it is one of the easiest desserts to make. So, if you are in a rush to produce something fancy, look no further than this easy cranachan recipe. Simple, quick and with only a few ingredients, it will have you looking like a master chef in no time.

cranachan a simple scottish dessert ingredients
oats suger cream butter honey whisky raspberries spice ingredients for cranachan laying flat on red and white check tablecloth

What is cranachan and how do you say it?

Cranachan, with my less than average Scottish interpretation, is pronounced something like “Kran-a-ken”. But of course, when you have the beautiful tones of a Scottish person’s voice saying it, it’s bound to sound much more delightful.

Cranachan is a simple, traditional Scottish dessert made with raspberries, cream, honey, whisky and oats.

Utensils

  • Glass serving dishes – you can use bowls, but this dessert is so pretty that it puts on quite a show if you use glass
  • Electric beaters – either a stand mixer or handheld
  • Baking tray/cookie tray
  • Baking paper/parchment paper
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula

Ingredient notes (ingredients listed on the recipe card at the bottom)

  • Raspberries – When it comes to raspberries, fresh is always going to be best. However, if fresh raspberries aren’t in season, using frozen raspberries is totally acceptable. Just be sure to thaw them out first.
  • Cream – the recipe calls for thickened cream, but you can substitute it for double cream. Pouring cream will whip perfectly as well.
  • Whisky – the Scots would have no trouble sourcing some fine whisky. If you don’t have whisky on hand, you could substitute it with bourbon. It’s not technically cranachan then, but it will still taste great. Also, if you don’t like the alcohol in your dessert, you can leave it out.
  • Honey – use good quality honey if you can.
  • Rolled oats – we use plain not toasted oats.
  • Sugar – we recommend using brown sugar as this caramelises the best for this recipe

How to make Cranachan

Step 1

To get yourself started, turn your oven on to 180 degrees Celsius (or around 350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Step 2

Note: This whole recipe is speedy to prepare, so if you are really quick, you might need to wait for a little while for your oven to reach the required temperature.

Combine the whisky with the honey first and then add it to the cream. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.

cranachan a simple scottish dessert whipped cream

Cook’s tip: Be very careful not to overwhip the cream. Overwhipping will cause the whey to separate from the cream, and it will be split and unable to be used. If you do split it, keep whipping it until the whey has completely separated and you have butter.

Step 3

Next, add the butter and the brown sugar to a saucepan to combine. As the butter melts, stir slowly to ensure all the sugar is mixed in. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

cranachan a simple scottish dessert brown sugar and butter
Melting the butter and brown sugar

Step 4

Once the sugar has dissolved, add the mixed spice and stir thoroughly.

adding spice to melted butter and sugar
Adding mixed spice

Step 5

Once this has been done, it is time to add the oats. Mix through.

adding the oats to cranachan mix
Adding oats

Step 6

Once it is all mixed together, there is no need to cook it any further. On a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper, tip out all of the mix from the saucepan. Spread it out to cover the baking tray in a thin layer.

Step 6

Bake this in the oven for around 20 minutes or until a deep golden brown colour. Help it to colour and cook evenly by mixing it all around every five minutes or so.

Step 7

Once you have achieved the desired colour and toastiness, remove from the heat and let cool for several minutes.

cranachan a simple scottish dessert toasted oats
Cooking the oat mix in the oven

Step 7

To prepare the final dessert, add some raspberries to the bottom of a glass dish or a container, then cream, and then some of the oat mix. If your container is large enough, you can keep layering it as you wish. Garnish the top with some fresh raspberries.

the completed Cranachan dessert best-scottish-desserts-how-to-make-cranachan
The completed Cranachan dessert

Cook’s tip: You can prepare the individual components ahead of time and just keep them all separate. Whip the cream and put it in the fridge for when you are ready to assemble. Once you have assembled though, it is best to serve straight away to ensure the oats don’t go soggy.

Alternative eating suggestions

If you want to make this tasty Scottish dessert into a breakfast dish, try substituting the cream for yoghurt. Again, it won’t be Cranachan, but it will certainly be yummy. Depending on your constitution, it might also be a good idea to omit the whisky at the start of the day.

Having cranachan for breakfast is not as silly as it might sound. In its earliest iterations, the humble cranachan was made with Crowdie cheese, a form of soft, fresh Scottish cheese. It was added to oats, with some honey for sweetening. Raspberries became a fancier addition later on when the fruit was seasonal. The use of Crowdie cheese gave way to certain parts of Scotland calling this dessert a Cream Crowdie.

How to serve

If you are making cranachan for a dinner party, get your guests involved by getting them to assemble their own. Simply put all the prepared ingredients into individual bowls, provide your guests with a bowl or glass and let them complete the dessert.

Step By Step Photos Above
Our recipes all have step-by-step photos, tips and FAQs listed above to allow you to make it as perfect as possible the first time.

The completed Cranachan dessert

Cranachan - a simple Scottish dessert

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

Cranachan is a simple Scottish dessert made with an even simpler recipe using rolled oats, raspberries, cream and whisky. There's a reason why it's also known as the King of Scottish desserts. Make it in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 punnets fresh raspberries
  • 250ml thickened or double cream
  • 50ml whisky
  • 50g honey
  • 150g rolled oats
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g butter
  • Dash mixed spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. (around 356 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Combine the whisky and honey in a bowl large enough to add the cream to.
  3. Whisk the cream with the honey and the whisky until soft peaks have formed.
  4. Melt the butter with the brown sugar.
  5. Add the oats ans spice and mix all together.
  6. Line a biscuit/cookie tray with baking paper and spread out.
  7. Put into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Stir the mix every 5 minutes to ensure even coverage and browing.
  8. In a glass, glass serving dish or bowl, layer the raspberries, then the cream, then the oat mix. Depending on the size of the container, you may be able to repeat some layers.
  9. Finish with some raspberries on the top for garnish.
  10. Serve straight away.

Notes

Notes

  • Raspberries - When it comes to raspberries, fresh is always going to be best. However, if fresh raspberries aren't in season, using frozen raspberries is totally acceptable. Just be sure to thaw them out first.
  • Cream - the recipe calls for thickened cream, but you can substitute it for double cream. Pouring cream will whip perfectly as well.
  • Whisky - the Scots would have no trouble sourcing some fine whisky. If you don't have whisky on hand, you could substitute it with bourbon. It's not technically cranachan then, but it will still taste great. Also, if you don't like the alcohol in your dessert, you can leave it out.
  • Honey - use good quality honey if you can.
  • Rolled oats - we use plain not toasted oats.
  • Sugar - we recommend using brown sugar as this caramelises the best for this recipe

  • If you are making cranachan for a dinner party, get your guests involved by getting them to assemble their own. Simply put all the prepared ingredients into individual bowls, provide your guests with a bowl or glass and let them complete the dessert.

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    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 553Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 4gSugar: 25gProtein: 7g

    This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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    Cranachan is a simple, easy to make, delicious traditional Scottish dessert.  Make this in under 30 minutes with a few ingredients.

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