Both oatmeal and raspberries are intrinsically Scottish ingredients, says James McKay, head chef at the Bay Hotel, Pettycur in Fife. One conjures up images of hearty bowls of porridge, while the other can be popped into fizzing glasses of Prosecco in the heady days of summer, or added to desserts. Cranachan, which is almost a national dish here in Scotland, effortlessly combines both oatmeal and raspberries – not to mention whisky if you like!
Oatmeal is made from hulled oat grains called groats, which have been ground, steel cut or rolled. Ground oats can be called white oats, whilst steel cut oats are known as coarse oatmeal or pinhead oats, as used in the cranachan.
Raspberries contain more Vitamin C than oranges and are super high in fibre whilst also being low in calories – a real superfood if ever there was one. Same goes for the oats which have a low GI. Raspberries freeze well, great news given the short Scottish summer and the fact they can perish quite quickly. Another interesting fact is that they are from the same botanical family as the blackberry and the rose.
The word cranachan is Scottish Gaelic in origin, meaning “churn”. The dish can also be known as cream crowdie, depending on what part of Scotland you are from.
To make the dish, which is delicious whatever you call it, take 1 pint double cream, add 50g toasted pinhead oatmeal (see tip below), add 50g caster sugar, 50g honey, a half measure of whisky (optional) and one punnet of fresh raspberries. Place the cream into a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until the cream is half whipped. Slow the mixer down and add all ingredients except the rasps. Once the mixture has all combined, add ½ punnet of raspberries and whip until the mixture is stiff. Divide between 2 glasses. Top with the remainder of the raspberries and serve with shortbread. Simply double to serve 4.
To toast oatmeal perfectly, preheat oven to 175C and spread the oats on to a greased baking sheet in a very thin layer. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they start to turn a tan colour and have a strong nutty aroma. Use a spatula or a spoon to stir the oats occasionally to prevent scorching and to ensure even toasting. Do not use any oils as the oats may absorb them and this can affect both the flavour and texture of the oats.