You might never have heard of cranachan before. That’s okay; this is a uniquely Scottish dessert, and despite being from the north of England I’m not even sure that I pronounce the name of this correctly. Is it cran-a-chan? Cra-nacken? Who knows.
Anyway, the name doesn’t matter. What does matter is the content: thick, airy whipped cream with whisky and tart fruit. A stream of sweetener running throughout. The subtle crunch of toasted oats, and a general sense that this dessert embodies the true spirit of Scotland.
Of course, I can’t leave anything alone, and in veganizing this it has, of course, changed a little. The whipped cream is whipped coconut cream in this version. The honey is replaced by agave. My oats are toasted with ground cinnamon and ginger, and instead of the traditional raspberries, I’ve used strawberries – although, to be honest, this is because I simply couldn’t get raspberries in Panama. I would probably use raspberries given the chance.
This is a gorgeously sunny, summer dessert and should be enjoyed as such. If you want to serve this the traditional way, serve each ingredient in a separate dish and allow your guests to build their own cranachan. If not, make sure there’s some fruit at the bottom of each glass.
(Serves 2 or 4 more sparsely)
1 punnet of strawberries, de-leaved and chopped in half
a little brown sugar
2 cups of whipped coconut cream
3 tbsps oats
pinch of ginger cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
4-5 tbsps good Scotch
2-3 tbsps agave nectar or maple syrup
Toast the oatmeal, stirring in the cinnamon and ginger, until the oats smell nutty and they’re browning
Take off the heat and set aside to cool
Place the chopped strawberries in a bowl, add a little brown sugar and crush them lightly with a wooden spoon. Only do this for a few seconds; we want most of the strawberries to be in tact
Whip the coconut cream until it’s just set, then place into the fridge for a few moments to firm up more
Fold in the Scotch, agave / maple syrup, oats, and half the strawberries, then serve in glasses topped with the rest of the strawberry mixture
You can also freeze this to make a Cranachan Ice Cream, or even go the whole hog and through it into your ice cream maker, though I’d add the strawberries and most of the oats in after the churning process in that case. It would be amazing on a hot summer’s day, though.