Summer is upon us. You can smell it in the blooming buds around you. You can feel it in the warmth of the mid-day sun. You can taste it in the fresh produce, displaying their ceremonial hues at marketplaces. Soon, as “rough winds shake” the last “darling buds of May”, June will greet us with alacrity. And for people in Scotland, it will be time for the convivial raspberry harvest. Harvesting the fragrant summer berry, in all its sweet-tart ruddiness has given birth to one of the most celebrated Scottish desserts of all time – the Cranachan. This sublime pudding can any day give its English cousin, the trifle, a run for its money.
It was traditionally prepared using quintessential Scottish ingredients like oats, whisky, local soft cheese, crowdie and raspberries. Over the years, the recipe has transformed, with chefs putting interesting twists on this time-honored dessert.
While some austere recipes omit the whisky and treat the fruit as optional, this classic dessert really stands apart with a generous splash of whisky. A single malt, like the Dalmore 12 Year Old works wonderfully— it offers desirable contrast to the tartness of the raspberries and the richness of the cream. So as we inch towards June, here’s how you can treat yourself to this Scottish delight. This recipe will serve 4.
Lightly toast 50gm oats in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes until the oats smell toasty and turn brown. Keep a careful watch as you don’t want to burn the oats.
Whisk the double cream until you see stiff peaks forming. Fold in 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of whisky. Try not to over-whip the cream.
Set aside a few raspberries for garnishing and crush the rest in a bowl using a masher or a fork. Add the sugar, 1 tsp honey and 1 tbsp whisky. Mix well. This is your raspberry coulis.
Bring all the ingredients to the table and assemble the dessert just before serving, in order to keep the oats crisp. Layer the dessert by placing a spoonful or two of the raspberry coulis at the bottom of a tall dessert glass. Then add the whipped cream and sprinkle some toasted oats on top. Repeat the layers until your glass is almost full. Garnish with a few raspberries and mint and don’t forget to drizzle some honey.
Soak about 25gm of oatmeal in leftover 2 tablespoons of whisky and leave it overnight. The oats will absorb all the whisky by the next day. Fold in the whisky-drenched oats in the cream mixture to give it some body. This will add a tantalizing twist to this old-style desert.