I think raspberries may just be my favorite summer fruit – something you might be able to figure out from the sheer number of raspberry recipes online! These fruits are at the height of their season at the moment and are at their most delicious. So, I decided to make cranachan with this kind of fruit. It’s one of the best summer desserts to eat.
Classic cranachan recipe
I bought my raspberries at the local market (in Berkshire rather than Scotland, I’m afraid! Scottish raspberries are renowned as being the best in the world, but these must come a close second-best). They were laid out in punnets, looking so very pretty and juicy – perfectly ripe. They may not be as sturdy as strawberries, but I love their sweet, tart taste. So much, in fact, that some of them got eaten on the way home, with red-stained fingers giving me away.
A traditional recipe uses a whole load of double cream, so I decided to lighten mine a little and used half double cream, half fat-free Greek yogurt, which still gave a wonderfully creamy texture. I also used a much higher fruit-to-cream ratio than is often suggested, because the raspberries are the main event here. I did, however, ensure that some raspberries were left over just to eat as I went along!
You can serve cranachan any way you like – in one big bowl, in small glasses, all mixed together or arranged in layers. It can even be frozen to make an ice-cream terrine – one of the most beautiful desserts ever!
As I am in the process of moving out of my house, I had most things packed, apart from wine glasses (well, you have to get your priorities right), so that’s how I served mine. I hope that if you’ve never come across this dessert before, I hope that you try it out. It is so quick and simple, but I can guarantee it will be a crowd-pleaser! Here is how to make cranachan:
- 150 ml double cream
- 150 ml Greek yogurt
- 250 g raspberries
- 70 g oats
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp whisky optional
- 1 tsp cinnamon optional
- First, lightly toast the oats for 5-10 mins, either in a dry frying pan or under the grill. I added a sprinkling of cinnamon to mine for extra flavor.
- Put 2/3 of the raspberries into a bowl and sprinkle the caster sugar over them. This helps to bring out the juices and make a syrup. Leave to rest.
- Whisk together the cream and yoghurt until it is thick and forms stiff peaks.
- Stir in the honey and whisky and half of the oats.
- Stir the raspberries in the bowl until they begin to break down. Stop while there are still some whole raspberries.
- Stir the raspberries into the cream mixture until just combined.
- In glasses/pots, sprinkle some oats and a couple of whole raspberries. Layer with the cream mixture, then add another layer of oats and raspberries. Continue until the glasses are full and top with raspberries.
- Refrigerate before serving, or freeze to make an ice-cream terrine.
what is Cranachan?
I expect you may be wondering what Cranachan is. This is a traditional dessert in Britain. The strange-sounding name, pronounced cran-akan, is a Gaelic name given to a Scottish dessert and means “churn” or “whisk,” referencing the method of making the dish. Cranachan has its roots in the Highlands of Scotland. It was historically served during harvest festivals and other festive occasions.
It is made from a mixture of oats, cream, honey, and whisky, with raspberries added when they are in season for a summery dessert. It is similar to Eton Mess, a very English pud, which uses meringues rather than oats, and strawberries rather than raspberries.
Cranachan is traditionally served in a communal bowl and scooped onto individual plates or bowls. Now, cranachan can be served in individual glasses or as a parfait.
While the classic recipe is delicious on its own, there are several popular variations and adaptations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some popular cranachan variations you can try, such as:
- Chocolate cranachan: adding chocolate chips or cocoa powder
- Nutty version: using almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans
- Banana cranachan: using sliced bananas instead of berries
- Citrus cranachan: adding grated orange or lemon zest to the whipped cream or using citrus segments like orange or grapefruit in place of the berries
- Tropical version: using mango, pineapple, and passion fruit instead of berries
- Healthy vegan version: using coconut milk to make whipped coconut cream and maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey.
- Alcoholic cranachan: adding whisky to the whipped cream or soaking the oats in the whisky before toasting them.