What Is Cranachan?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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In Scotland, a popular style of pudding is called cranachan, often served to complement a fresh batch of raspberries. Many Scottish citizens still call the dessert "crowdie cream," a throwback to when a local cheese called crowdie was a key component instead of the current method involving only cream. Aside from the rasberries and cream, the pudding also contains oatmeal, honey and some whiskey to elevate the final taste.

Often done up in a fancy wine flute, cranachan is most often served as a restaurant dessert or for special occasions. Many mix raspberries into the pudding, while saving some to layer on top for better aesthetics. Some leave raspberries — and tradition — behind for another seasonal fruit such as peaches, apples or bananas.

The oatmeal must be toasted for cranachan to have a distinctive flavor and appearance. This involves heating dry oatmeal in an unoiled pan over medium-low heat until it takes on a slightly browned coloring. Without the oil, this could take as long as 25 minutes. Others merely bake the oatmeal for a few minutes at high heat in the oven. After browning, the oatmeal is then cooled in the refrigerator.


While cooling, the binding matter for the cranachan pudding, the cream, should be poured into a large metal bowl. A batch to serve two should include one cup (280 ml) of cream and at least 2 tbsp (30 ml) of oatmeal. The cream is whipped to a frothy texture in a bowl, then at least 2 tbsp (30 ml) of malt whiskey and honey are combined with the whipped cream. A few more whisks, and the cream will be infused with added sweetness and bitterness.

Before serving, many chefs crush fresh raspberries and add the juice and macerated pieces to the pudding, for coloring and texture. Other raspberries are left intact for decoration. With the fruit whipped into the pudding, final presentation typically requires pouring some raspberries into a glass, followed by the pudding. On top of each serving, many also add a few more raspberries along with spoonful of toasted oatmeal for garnish and added nuttiness.

After the basics are understood, many switch out key ingredients for others with slightly different taste or texture. Using another fruit besides raspberries is one way to make an original recipe. Another way is to switch out the oatmeal for a crushed nut like walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. To make an even more unique version, some use a creamy cheese, like the old style of crowdie cheese, instead of cream to make the dish perfectly traditional.


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