Apple Cranachan

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends in Canada.  I know you’re either cooking the big turkey feast or enjoying the leftovers from yesterday, along with a day off work.  We arrived back from our trip to Scotland on Saturday evening and I am beginning to feel readjusted to this time zone.  It was a wonderful week; full of all the sights and activities I had planned and was so looking forward to.  The weather was mixed, two days of grey skies and intermittent rain, and the remainder filled with sunshine and crisp autumn air.   Just north of the small fishing village of Tarbert, my paternal grandfather’s birthplace, we stayed in a majestic castle hotel.  The Stonefield Castle is located on acres of pristine grounds on the shores of Loch Fyne.  Their dining room has a beautiful view and the food is top-notch.  One of the featured desserts that evening was cranachan.  It is a traditional Scottish “pudding” consisting of whipped cream flavored with honey and whisky, toasted oats, and fresh berries.  What a spectacular sight it was in its coupe glass; softly whipped cream and crunchy sweet oats, layered with fresh raspberries.   This is my humble interpretation of that luscious dessert, with a nod to autumn fruit.  It is truly delicious.  You can make and assemble the dessert ahead of time, but be prepared for the oats to soften somewhat in the cream as it waits in the refrigerator.  There is also a way of serving the dessert by placing each component in its own bowl and encouraging your guests to build their own cranachan to their individual tastes.  Either way, it’s a simple and tasty way to end a meal with a rich, sweet, whisky-laced treat. 

Apple Cranachan
(serves 4)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup superfine sugar, divided
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
a generous 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons whisky (preferably single-malt Scotch)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 large or 3 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice
Melt half the butter in an 8-10 inch non-stick skillet.  Add the oats and the hazelnuts and stir together.  Toast for about 1 minute over medium heat, take care not to burn the oats.  Add half the superfine sugar and continue to cook and stir the mixture until the oats and nuts are caramelized.  Remove to a parchment paper-lined plate or small baking sheet and allow to cool.  Set aside a spoonful or two of the oat-nut mixture for garnish.  Wipe out the pan and replace over medium-high heat.  Melt the remaining butter and add the diced apples.  Saute until the apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining sugar (and a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg if you like) and stir to coat the apples.  Cook until the fruit is tender and caramelized, but not mushy.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.  Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold in the yogurt, honey, whisky, oat-nut mixture, and the additional brown sugar to taste.  Layer in small glasses or bowls by placing the apples at the bottom, followed by a layer of the cream mixture, then more fruit, and finally a layer of whipped cream.  Sprinkle some of the reserved toasted oats atop each serving. 
(adapted slightly from “delicious magazine”)

The majestic Stonefield Castle, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, Scotland

One Year Ago:  Happy Thanksgiving Canada


  • The Devil's Food Advocate

    Hi Renee,
    I had been looking forward to the Scotland trip for quite some time, and it didn’t disappoint. There was beautiful scenery and architecture, friendly, kind people, and some pretty good food. You should put it on your travel destination list 🙂

  • Zandra Hunt

    I live in Tarbert, married to a bagpiper who pipes here a lot 🙂

    Cranachan is awesome, real fave here but I’ve never tried it with apple, so def giving it a go.

    You all should visit us on the west coast of Scotland, its beautiful but beware the midgies arent the friendly type 🙂

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