Oats, whiskey, thick cream, honey, and raspberries are now the traditional ingredients to this perfect, classic Scottish dessert, cranachan (pronounced with a breathy ‘kh’ sound rather than a ‘ch’ as in ‘cheese’)
It was originally called ‘crowdie’ because it was traditionally made with crowdie cheese, which resembled a kind of cream cheese but thick cream is used now as crowdie is not commonly available. You might find recipes that call for cream cheese, quark or mascarpone but the general consensus is that thick cream is the way to go and it is a mouthwatering match with the fruit.
In this camping recipe, I’ve used the ‘idea’ of a cranachan and devised a dessert that is both practical and delicious at the same time but if you have the means to stick to the original recipe go for it! The essential flavors of the oats, the boozy, honey cream, and the refreshing fruit are still the essence of this version.
I’ve used a good quality squirty cream from a can rather than fresh cream. It’s easy to pack, doesn’t require a fridge and still delicious with the toasted oats, honey, and whiskey folded into it. Some recipes add white or brown sugar to the oats as they are toasting, to give a hint of caramel to the mixture, which forms into a brittle that is crushed once cooled. For camping, I think it is a bit too fussy and ‘camping cranachan’ is just as delicious by sticking to the original version of just toasting the oats in a skillet until they have an almost nutty taste.
I’ve also used canned fruit but feel free to use fresh if you prefer. If you are fortunate to be camping where you can forage your own berries and know exactly what to look for, safely, then that’s even better! Although raspberries are the norm, other berries are equally as good. Tinned apricots or peaches are well-matched to the rest of the flavors in this dessert and that’s the version I’m using.
For an easy way to serve this dessert, use disposable cups while camping but at home, it is often served in whiskey tumblers or hi-ball glasses.
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Makes 6 cups
- 4 oz oats
- 14 oz can apricots (or berries)
- ½ can squirty cream
- 3 tbsp whiskey (or according to taste)
- 3 tbsp honey (or according to taste)
- In a cast iron skillet toast the oats until they are slightly darkened and give off a nutty aroma. Then remove them from the heat and cool.
- Add the oats to the cream.
- Stir in whiskey and honey to taste.
- Squash the fruit to a pulp but leave small lumps of fruit for texture.
- Place a layer of fruit on the bottom of the glasses followed by a layer of the cream mixture. Continue until the glass is full.