Sunday, July 24, 2005
Following Friday night's salmon with a creamy orange sauce, I served a very Scottish dessert - Cranachan.
I almost gave up the idea. While shopping for fish (and the elusive rosemary) on Friday morning, I was also looking for raspberries. Unfortunately my local vegetable shops only stocked imported French raspberries, which seemed a bit exhausted of the trip across the Channel and looked a wee bit unappealing. Half an hour later, sipping my usual late-morning latte at Peckham's deli in Newington, I saw those most beautiful, plump Scottish organic raspberries on the shelf. And even more beautiful was the price - they were almost half price compared to the regular price. How often does it happen that you go to look for some special product and the shop has kindly discounted the price for your pleasure!? Not often, I guess. I was happy though.
(Cranachan ehk 'Purjus kaer')
Cranachan is a very simple - and as it turned out - very tasty dessert. And it's very Scottish. It's sometimes also known as Tipsy Oats or Cream Crowdie. To make cranachan, you toast medium ground oatmeal (and what can be more Scottish than oatmeal?) slightly under the grill or on a dry frying pan, taking care not to burn it. You then pour over couple of dashes of Scottish whisky over the roasted aromatic oatmeal and stir - you should end up with slightly crunchy whisky-infused oatmeal. Leave to infuse for another 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, whisk some whipping or double cream softly with sugar to taste.
Now mix the cooled whisky-oat mixture and sweetened whipped cream. Layer into glasses with some (preferably fresh Scottish) raspberries. Put into the fridge until ready to serve.
Serve and enjoy.
Well - how easy is that?
(In case you are wondering about the amounts, then ca 100 grams of oatmeal, 3 tbsp of whisky, a pint of cream, 100 grams of sugar and 450 grams of raspberries should be enough for 6).
The whisky I used was The Smokey Peaty One from Jon, Mark and Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky company. I thought the peatiness of this whisky went really well with the whiff of roasted oatmeal. You can replace the whisky with Drambuie (the Scottish whisky liqueur) if you wish. Although traditionally pinhead or coarse oatmeal is used, you can also use oats. Some recipes suggest adding some honey to the cream mixture (and it should be heather honey then).
After the first mouthful, my friend Maarika announced that it tastes like kama - the ubiquous Estonian roasted grain mixture that I wrote about the other day. I totally agreed with Maarika - while roasting the oatmeal, I thought exactly the same thing. There's something to try next time. But cranachan in its traditional form will remain in my dessert recipe repertoire as well.