The three weeks my husband and I toured the circumference of Scotland were a pure delight. I knew Scotland would be pretty, but I had no idea the vast geographic extremes that exist in this country, from the highlands to the lochs to the granitic islands off the northern coast.

If you’re never thought about seeing Scotland, you might consider adding it to your list!


During our trip, we stopped in at Talisker, a distillery on the Isle of Skye, took the very interesting tour, and tasted their Scotch whisky.


I am not a fan of scotch, but I had to drink it because that’s my rule. That’s why I tried banana beer in Rwanda. (never again!)

You only get about an ounce, understandably, for your whisky sample. But instead of pouring it down my throat like a shot, I probably took 100 sips of the stuff, which prolonged the pain and agony. But I finished it! It had a really smoky flavor from the peat used in the scotch making process.

So I bring up Scotland and scotch because this recipe, Cranachan, which I have no idea how to pronounce, is a Scottish recipe and it contains scotch whisky. Irish whiskey, by the way, has an “e” in it!

I picked up this little cookery pamphlet at a tourist stop, I think at Culloden, one of the famous battle sites in Scotland. Just walking around there will bring tears to your eyes. So much blood shed over the centuries.

On a brighter note, this recipe, from the smallest cookbook ever printed, at 28 pages, intrigued me because of its simplicity. The recipe is not terribly unique, since it’s whipped cream and raspberries, but there are two Scottish additions – scotch whisky and pinhead oatmeal! So I really wanted to try it. The cookbook author’s version of cranachan is pictured on the front cover of the cookbook.


I should mention that the food in Scotland was superb. I mostly had seafood, some I’d heard of like salmon, and others I hadn’t ever experienced, like sea bream. All of it was fresh out of the sea, since Scotland is practically an island. And yes, I had haggis and blood pudding. I’m not scared of that kind of thing, but they were made traditionally, so they were very bland. Someone needs to make gourmet versions and they might be way more popular!

I also had to have cullen skink, which is a seafood soup, and also a clootie dumpling, which was a dense cake. How can you pass up names like that?!!!

Scottish oatmeal, or porridge as it’s often called, is a staple in Scotland. If you want it for breakfast at your hotel in the morning, you must order it the night before. I assume it’s because the oatmeal is soaked all night before cooking. Scottish oatmeal is not the light and fluffy quick-cooking stuff we get in the US. It’s not even thick-sliced oats. It’s pinhead oats, which are more like pieces of the whole oats, which require longer cooking time.

If you want Scottish oats, make sure that you see a photo on the canister or box, otherwise you may not get the correct variety of oats. Even steel-cut oats can be flakes. Here is the recipe as it appears in the cookbook.



60 ml/4 tablespoons pinhead oatmeal
280 ml/10 fl ounce/1 1/4 cup double (heavy) cream
30 ml/2 tablespoons whisky
About 45 ml/3 tablespoons liquid honey
250 g/8 ounces raspberries

1. Put the oatmeal in a small, dry frying pan and toast it over gentle heat for 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until the oatmeal is lightly browned.

I first sieved the oatmeal to remove any fine powder, then toasted it in a skillet over moderate heat, which only took about 6-7 minutes.

Then I placed the toasted oatmeal on a plate to cool.

2. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it is thick but not stiff. Add the whisky, and honey to taste.

I first mixed together the honey, which I warmed slightly, along with the whisky, then made the whipped cream. You can see me pouring the mixture into the whipped cream, before adding the raspberries.

3. Reserve a few of the best raspberries for decoration and fold the rest gently into the cream.

4. Spoon the mixture into 4 glasses and chill until you are ready to serve.

5. Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted oatmeal on top of the cream and decorate with the reserved raspberries.

verdict: I have to say, I was first skeptical about a few things. First, I wasn’t sure how well whisky and honey could be folded into whipped cream, but it does. Secondly, I thought the whisky would be off-putting, but along with the honey and the raspberries, it was truly delightful! Thirdly, I wasn’t sure what the oats would do for the dessert, but it works!!! Just a nice little crunch!

By Published On: April 16th, 201537 Comments on Cranachan

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. spiritedcook April 16, 2015 at 9:18 AM - Reply

    These photos are fabulous Mimi! I also loved Scotland when we visited about 10 years ago. And I thought the food was fabulous! Is this a recent trip? Good for you!

    • chef mimi April 16, 2015 at 10:00 AM - Reply

      It was almost 3 years ago. A fabulous trip. And thank you!

  2. StefanGourmet April 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM - Reply

    Beautiful photos, Mimi! I would have been skeptical about the whisky, too. Great looking dessert!

  3. Conor Bofin April 16, 2015 at 1:21 PM - Reply

    Lovely dessert. Scotland is such a lovely, wild country. Edinburgh is my favourite city over there. Wonderful place.

    • chef mimi April 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM - Reply

      It is a beautiful city. We were there for the end of the tatoo (sp?) and got the see the fireworks above the castle. Almost got crushed in the crowds, but it was worth it!!!

  4. dwdirwin April 16, 2015 at 3:55 PM - Reply

    My family and I will be visiting Scotland for a week in June as part of a 2 week trip to the UK- can’t wait!

    • chef mimi April 17, 2015 at 8:16 AM - Reply

      Thanks to my daughter living in London for 4 years, we traveled to the UK and Ireland, and it’s all beautiful and so varied!

  5. safifer April 16, 2015 at 5:47 PM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing the photos as well as the recipes! That gave me a bit of a vicarious trip away from my work.

    • chef mimi April 17, 2015 at 8:16 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome! It was hard picking just a few…

  6. Julie is Hostess At Heart April 16, 2015 at 10:19 PM - Reply

    I’ve never been to Scotland so really enjoyed your photos. Wow I would never have put those ingredients together but your dish sure was pretty!

    • chef mimi April 17, 2015 at 8:17 AM - Reply

      I know. That absolutely why I had to try it! Especially not being a fan of whisky!

      • Julie is Hostess At Heart April 17, 2015 at 1:26 PM

        I don’t mind a bit of whisky but it can really take over. There is a restaurant that has a whisky steak that is delicious!

  7. lovefromitaly April 17, 2015 at 5:00 AM - Reply

    Beautiful pics, one of my fave whisky’s and one of my fave Scottish recipes… Feeling sooooooooooooo homesick now!

  8. chef mimi April 17, 2015 at 8:18 AM - Reply

    I should have asked you how to pronounce Cranachan!!! The more north we went, I could hardly understand anybody, but everyone was very patient with me!

  9. Elaine @ foodbod April 17, 2015 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    Wonderful photos! And I’ve always wondered what is in cranachan – thank you for entlightening me :)

  10. David April 17, 2015 at 2:36 PM - Reply

    Simply stunning.

  11. sakinah April 17, 2015 at 4:08 PM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Cappuccino.

  12. sabine April 17, 2015 at 10:52 PM - Reply

    I never heard of this dessert before, and have to admit I´m completely new to Scottish cuisine. But cooking with whisky sounds tempting, and must give this dessert a wonderful flavor!

    • chef mimi April 18, 2015 at 9:30 PM - Reply

      I just love the name of traditional Scottish dishes!

  13. StacieB6 April 18, 2015 at 7:51 AM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your adventures in Scotland. It sounds like an amazing experience & your photos are beautiful. Interesting recipe… I’ll have to try it sometime

  14. Lesley at Lola Rugula April 19, 2015 at 1:17 PM - Reply

    Beautiful photos, Mimi and that dessert looks divine! (however it is that it’s pronounced! :) )

  15. Michelle April 19, 2015 at 3:02 PM - Reply

    Love this, Mimi. We’ve rented a house in Northumberland for this fall, near the Scottish border. Like you, I’m not much for the brown goods. But I can’t wait to explore Scotland!

    • chef mimi April 19, 2015 at 4:28 PM - Reply

      I’m so excited for you. it’s so beautiful!

  16. Christine Arel (@NoGojisNoGlory) April 20, 2015 at 11:14 AM - Reply

    Wow…Scotland is so beautiful Mimi! Trying new foods is one of the best things about traveling. It’s a shame when people travel and stick to the foods they normally eat instead of getting a real taste of the place they’re visiting. You miss out on so many new experiences!

    • chef mimi April 20, 2015 at 1:15 PM - Reply

      Exactly! So many people go to McDonald’s in Europe!!! eewwww

  17. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome April 22, 2015 at 4:47 PM - Reply

    Scotland is so beautiful! My sister-in-law lives in Edinburgh so we get to visit often. Talisker is a very rough intriduction to whisky! I don’t like the smoky peaty ones either, prefer the sherry cask aged ones which, as you can guess, are sweeter.

    • chef mimi April 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM - Reply

      AAAACCCCCHHHHHHH! It was like licking an ashtray!!!

  18. Darya July 22, 2015 at 3:08 AM - Reply

    Beautiful pictures of Scotland, Mimi! I would love to visit some day, and then make real cranachan, with actual whisky!

  19. thefolia August 20, 2015 at 4:30 AM - Reply

    What an incredible sounding combination…have you tried brandy ice (brandy poured over ice cream–it’s delicious! Happy feasting.

    • chef mimi August 20, 2015 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      no, i haven’t heard of this!!! Thanks!

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