Cranachan: A Traditional Scottish Dessert

by Phil & Sonja
Scottish Cranachan Recipe

Cranachan is a fresh Scottish dessert that was traditionally made to celebrate the raspberry harvest in June. It’s simple but super delicious! So much so that it’s even been called the “King of Scottish desserts”. 

Given that it’s summer in Scotland and it’s raspberry season, we figured we should give making our own Cranachan a go! 

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Easy Scottish Cranachan Recipe

What makes a good Cranachan recipe?

Delving into the recipe books gave us a lot of different ideas about how to put together the perfect glass of Cranachan. The main ingredients were generally similar:

  • Raspberries (although some recipes mentioned any fresh berries would do)
  • Toasted oatmeal (of all sorts of varieties)
  • Cream or Crowdie 
  • Whisky (or sometimes rum)
  • Sweetener in the form of honey or sometimes sugar

Crowdie is a type of soft Scottish cheese that has been made here for centuries. You’ll sometimes see Cranachan called Crowdie instead, as it’s likely this is what it was originally made with.

So our challenge was, how do we create the perfect balance of these to make an amazing Cranachan dessert? Well, one of the best things about this dessert is that it’s all about your own taste and what you have available. So although we’ve laid out our own version of a traditional Cranachan recipe, you’re sure to find yourself adjusting it to your own taste too. 

Scottish Cranachan Recipe

Things you’ll need to make Cranachan

  • Large bowl to mix everything together
  • Glasses or bowls to serve in

This recipe is made to serve in four smaller glasses or two larger glasses. You can also just make it in one big bowl and dish out portions. 

Ingredients for Cranachan

  • 75g oats (3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • 250g raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 350ml double cream (thick cream, 1.5 cups) 

You don’t need to follow these amounts to the letter by any means. If you have more of less of some things it’s ok! We liked this amount of whisky and honey with the cream, but you can definitely add more or less to suit you. The same goes for the oats and raspberries. 

Scottish Easy Cranachan Recipe

Oats

Don’t worry too much about what oats you use, just whatever you have to hand should be fine. We just used standard porridge oats. If you plan to make and serve this right away the oats will maintain their crunch, but if you leave it in the fridge for a while before serving they will soften. We preferred it this way!

Honey 

Runny honey is best, and if you can source some Scottish Heather honey then all the better!

Whisky 

Use a good quality whisky since you will be able to taste it! And Scottish of course. 

The thing about Cranachan is that it’s so simple but it’s best when made with high-quality ingredients to really bring out the flavours. 

Raspberries

Cranachan was traditionally made with fresh raspberries. However, we know these aren’t always readily available or cost-effective so it’s no problem if you make it with frozen raspberries. It’s nice to have a few fresh ones to decorate the top if you can get them though!

If you’re using frozen raspberries you should allow them to fully thaw before making the Cranachan. You can also split and use some frozen and some fresh. 

British, and Scottish in particular, raspberries are known to be sweeter, which is why we haven’t included any sugar in the recipe. North American raspberries tend to be more sour, so you may want to add a teaspoon to two of sugar to your berry mixture. 

Cream

Cranachan was originally made with Crowdie, but this soft cheese isn’t always readily available for everyone. We decided to substitute entirely for cream, which is more common nowadays. However, you can definitely do a mixture of Crowdie and cream, or even creme fraiche or mascarpone, although the latter is a bit of a different taste. We think the lightness of the cream keeps it nice and fresh and goes so well with the raspberries! 

You’ll need to use a thick cream, in the UK we use double cream. 

How to make Cranachan step by step method

The first step is to toast the oats. You can do this in a pan on the stovetop or in the oven. Put the oats in a dry pan or spread them out on a tray to go under the grill. How long it needs will depend on the oats you use. It took around 5 minutes for ours. There will be a nutty sort of smell when they’re ready. Keep checking them continuously so they don’t burn! Put in a bowl and set aside to cool. 

Crush the raspberries in a bowl and set aside, saving a few whole ones for a garnish.

Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whisky and the honey. Start with a smaller amount and you can always add more to taste. 

Mix the cooled oats through the cream, saving a little for garnish. 

Take the glasses (or bowl) and start to layer the raspberry and cream mixture. You’ll want to end with cream on top! How many layers you do depends on the glass size and portions you’re making. We like two layers of raspberries and cream each, but if we don’t have as many raspberries we just do one layer in the middle sometimes too. 

Sprinkle the rest of the oats over the top of the last layer of cream and add a few fresh raspberries. 

You can eat it right away or put it in the fridge for later. We prefer to put it in the fridge so the oats soften a bit into the cream. 

Scottish Classic Cranachan Recipe

Cranachan variations

There are a few variations you can do when you make Cranachan. Many of the older cookbooks weren’t specific on using whisky or even raspberries and just called for you to use whatever was to hand. 

Rum Cranachan

Try it with rum instead of whisky! There are some great Scottish rums you could try it with. 

Other Berries

If you can’t get raspberries then you can make a version of Cranachan with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or even a mixture. We think the raspberries are definitely the best though!

Cranachan without whisky

Of course, if whisky isn’t to your taste, you don’t drink alcohol, or you’re serving to children, then you can make Cranachan without whisky. You could add a little vanilla essence for some extra flavour instead if you like. 

Yield: 4

Traditional Cranachan Recipe - Classic Scottish Dessert

Scottish Cranachan Recipe

This traditional Cranachan recipe is simple yet delicious! It mixes fresh ingredients with classic Scottish flavours like whisky, honey, and oats. The perfect Scottish dessert!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 75g oats (3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • 250g raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 350ml double cream (thick cream, 1.5 cups)

Instructions

    1. Firstly, toast the oats. You can do this in a pan on the stovetop or in the oven. Put the oats in a dry pan or spread them out on a tray to go under the grill. There will be a nutty sort of smell when they’re ready. Keep checking them continuously so they don’t burn! Put in a bowl and set aside to cool.
    2. Crush the raspberries in a bowl and set aside, saving a few whole ones for a garnish.
    3. Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whisky and the honey. Start with a smaller amount and you can always add more to taste.
    4. Mix the cooled oats through the cream, saving a little for garnish.
    5. Take the glasses (or bowl) and start to layer the raspberry and cream mixture, ending with cream on top.
    6. Sprinkle the rest of the oats over the top of the last layer of cream and add a few fresh raspberries for garnish.
    7. Eat it right away or put it in the fridge for later. The oats will soften a little if left in the fridge.

Notes

This recipe is enough for four smaller glasses or two larger ones. You can also make the layers in a bowl then serve out individual portions.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 448Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 6g

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5 comments

Yvonne June 18, 2020 - 11:03 am

Looking forward to trying this recipe very much! Sounds easy and fresh, I’m salivating just thinking about it 🙂

Reply
Yvonne June 18, 2020 - 11:05 am

I also wanted to say I love how your photo’s look, and make this dessert look so good!

Reply
17 Scottish Foods & Drinks You Have To Try - Scottish Scran June 18, 2020 - 2:45 pm

[…] can pretty much use whatever measurements you like to make it, but here’s our recipe to get you […]

Reply
Barb June 24, 2020 - 11:51 pm

Thank you. Miss nanny and her cooking

Reply
Phil Bolger July 6, 2020 - 9:47 am

You’re welcome. Hopefully we can help you recreate some things!

Reply

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