Cranachan is a traditional Scottish pudding or dessert. It is traditionally made with oatmeal, double (heavy) cream, single malt whisky and raspberries. In modern times, the recipe has like so many others been amended and subjected to experimentation that renders it almost unrecognisable on occasion. In keeping with those other recipes, however, learning how to make Cranachan is about learning at least in the first instance of the traditional method and ingredients.
Cranachan is such an old recipe that the quantities of the ingredients were not originally quite so precise as they are most often required to be in modern cuisine. As a fairly rough guideline, however, one pint of double cream three, ounces of coarse oatmeal, a generous dram of single malt whisky (maybe about four tablespoons) and a handful of raspberries will make four small dishes of Cranachan. It is important to note, however, not to use an overly peat tasting whisky such as Laphroaig or Ardbeg, as delicious though they are, they are not suited to this recipe.
How to make Cranachan in the traditional sense is in fact an incredibly simple process as there is only one brief cooking activity required. This is where the oatmeal is toasted in a dry skillet or frying pan. This will take at most a couple of minutes and the oatmeal should be gently shaken around the pan as it toasts, so that it neither sticks nor burns. When the oatmeal begins to turn a light golden colour, it is ready and should be removed from the heat.
The next stage in making Cranachan is to whisk the cream until it reaches the stage of what is often referred to as soft peaks. This means that one should be careful not to over whisk it and essentially churn it but simply whisk it sufficiently that it has definite solid substance while remaining light and fluffy. When the cream has been whisked to this extent, the oatmeal and whisky should be added and carefully folded through. Folding a mixture does not mean stirring. If one stirs in a conventional fashion, much of the air will be lost in the process. Essentially, the oatmeal and whisky are turned over in the cream, much like soil is in a garden.
When the oatmeal and whisky are carefully folded in to the cream, the mixture is ready to be put in to the small serving bowls or glasses. This should again be done lightly and carefully before the cream mixture is decorated with the raspberries.
The variations of Cranachan today include using honey, Drambuie as opposed to single malt and even refined sugar in the recipe. The choice is of course entirely one’s own but very often original recipes are so good that to tamper with them is akin to sacrilege.