I love steel cut oats, as you may recall in my ode to ye olde pinhead a while back. So, when a traditional Scottish dessert containing said oats was being dreamily described by an equally dreamy Scotsman, I knew I had to make it.

Now, some of you might conjure up visions of haggis and Scotch eggs when thinking of traditional Scottish cuisine, but there really is a lot more to it than innards and fried egg balls. (oh but check this out if you want to play the Haggis Hurl.)

Cranachan (the name of which, to my American ears, sounds like a creaky old basement door or a cranky old man), also commonly referred to as “cream crowdie,” is an ethereal mixture of whipped cream, toasted oats, whisky, and fresh raspberries. Most are well aware that Scotland is a top contender in the whisky arena, but did you know that it is also revered for its raspberries?

The following recipe for “cranky man crowdie” (yeah, that’s my new pet name for it) comes directly from said Scotsman’s (um, or as I like to call him: Keith) stepmother Dorothy who lives in Edinburgh. To be noted, I took a few liberties with it in order to standardize the measurements to American cups and to satisfy my American prediliction for abundance (i.e. I like loads of raspberries in my cranachan). I also have the annoying habit of not being able to follow a recipe. Even my own freaking recipes. Regardless, please enjoy.

Dot’s Absolutely Gorgeous Cranachen

1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz) steel cut oats
4 tablespoons scotch whisky, plus additional for drinking*
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup (8 oz) plain Greek yogurt**
1 cup (8 fl oz) whipping cream
1-2 pints (punnets) fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the oats on a small baking sheet or in a baking dish and roast, stirring often so they don’t burn, for about 20 minutes or until toasty and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Pour yourself a glass of whisky. Straight or on the rocks, however you like it. Sip it while you wait for the oats to toast, but don’t sip so much of it that you burn the oats.

In a bowl, whisk together the 4 tablespoons whisky and the honey until the honey is dissolved. Stir in the yogurt.

In another bowl, whip the cream to almost-but-not-too stiff peaks. Fold the yogurt-whisky mixture into the whipped cream. Take a sip of whisky. Gently fold in the toasted oats.

Divide the raspberries between 6 cups or small bowls. Top each with a hefty dollop of the cranachen. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set slightly. Devour.

*Use a smooth and fairly light Scotch whisky, not one that is overly peaty or it will overwhelm the delicate dessert. I used Glenfiddich. mmmmmmmmm.

**If you can’t find Greek yogurt, you can use whole milk plain yogurt, preferably organic. Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the strainer and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight to drain and thicken the yogurt.

Steel Cut My Cranachan 26 October,2006Kim Laidlaw

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    Yum! I had a dessert like this on my Scottish honeymoon in an ancient castle — they called it “Athole Bròse.”

  • cucina testa rossa

    hard to go wrong with scotch 😉

  • Anonymous

    Sue Lawrence (who has written a cooking column for the London Times and, now for the Scotsman) has a wonderful cranachan recipe:


    Servings: 6

    Source: London Times

    125 g jumbo oats
    75 g light muscovado sugar
    3 – 4 tbsp whisky, plus 1/2 extra, to serve
    250 g mascarpone
    300 ml double cream, lightly whipped
    250 g raspberries, defrosted if frozen

    Prepare the various components of this pudding in advance, if you wish, but only combine shortly before serving or the oats will lose their crunch.

    Put the oats and sugar on a large sheet of foil and place under a hot grill for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so: they will burn quickly, so watch carefully. Remove and cool. Add the whisky to the mascarpone according to personal taste, and beat until smooth.

    Fold this into the cream with the cooled oat mixture. Once thoroughly combined, gently fold in the raspberries, taking care not to break them up. Tip into a glass bowl, cover and serve at once – or chill for no more than an hour.

    Serve in bowls with an optional drizzle of whisky.


Kim Laidlaw

Kim Laidlaw is a cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker who has been in the kitchen covered in flour since she was big enough to stir the biscuit dough. She has over 16 years of experience in book and online publishing, and a lifetime of experience in the kitchen.

Her first cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, was published in 2011; her second cookbook, Baby & Toddler On the Go, was published in April 2013; and her third cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, was published in October 2013.

She was the first blogger on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog, which launched in 2005, and previously worked as a professional baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, CA. She lives in Petaluma with her husband and their child, whom she cooks for everyday. Find out more at http://www.kimlaidlaw.com.

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