Recently I visited a Scottish restaurant called Highlands in the West Village with a friend. We had a really great meal, starting with the lamb roll appetizer and ending with a dessert called cranachan. I had no idea what cranachan was until the waitress explained that it is basically whipped cream with fresh berries. What she didn't explain was that in the whipped cream was toasted oats, honey and whiskey. I didn't know about the honey and whiskey for sure until I came home and Googled the dessert to find out exactly what traditionally goes in it. All I knew was that there were definitely three things: (1)toasted oats, (2) only slightly sweetened whipped cream, and (3) berries. At Highlands they had blackberries and raspberries in the dessert, but according to my Google searches, traditionally the dessert only includes raspberries. Seeing as I'm not even the slightest bit Scottish, I feel like I can take some artistic license and include whatever berries I so choose. In this case, I am including strawberries (because who doesn't love strawberries with fresh whipped cream), raspberries, and blackberries.
I love the cranachan because it is a nice variation on simple whipped cream and berries. The toasted oats provide a wonderful textural contrast to the soft pillows of Scotch-spiked whipped cream, and the ripe berries. I also tossed the oats in a hint of honey so that they added just a touch more sweetness. It was a perfect dessert for warm summer weather when you want something sweet, but don't want anything too heavy or rich. Two thumbs up for my first ever Scottish "dish."
Recipe after the jump!
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp single-malt Scotch
2 tbsp old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp honey
1 cup mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries cut into chunks)
Combine cream, vanilla extract and sugar in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer (or in a chilled bowl with an electric hand-held mixer - whisking by hand is always an option but it's a huge pain). Beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in Scotch. Meanwhile, toast oats in a dry saute pan over medium heat, taking care not to burn them. Once oats start to become fragrant and begin to turn slightly golden, remove from heat. Drizzle honey over oats and stir until combined. Allow oats to cool for a few minutes.
Assemble cranachan in 2 small glasses by layering berries, whipped cream and oats, in alternating layers. Top with toasted oats and berries.