Why It Works
- Whipping the cream in a food processor incorporates less air, leading to a denser, more mousse-like texture.
- Optional mascarpone thickens and enriches the cream even more.
- Soaking the oats in the cream first tenderizes them; once toasted they're crisp, not tough.
Cranachan is the classic Scottish dessert of Scotch-spiked whipped cream layered with raspberries and toasted oats and sweetened with honey. It's as easy as it is delicious.
- 2 cups (475ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup rolled (30g) or steel-cut (45g) oats (see note)
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh raspberries, divided
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, melted
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (30g) mascarpone cheese (optional)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) Scotch whisky (see note)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) honey, plus more for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). In a medium bowl, combine cream with oats and let soak 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, crush 8 ounces of the raspberries with a spoon to make a pulpy puree. Stir in lemon juice. Set remaining 4 ounces whole raspberries aside.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain oats, collecting the cream in a bowl; use a spoon or rubber spatula to press out as much cream as possible. Set cream aside.
In a small oven-safe skillet or on an aluminum baking sheet, stir soaked oats with melted butter and toast in oven, tossing and stirring frequently, until deeply browned, about 20 minutes (you want the oats to darken nearly to the point of being burnt, but don't actually burn them).
Strain oats on paper towels, and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.
For a More Dense, Mousse-Like Cream: In a food processor, combine reserved cream with mascarpone (if using), Scotch, and honey, along with a pinch of salt. Process until a dense whipped cream forms.
For a More Standard, Lighter Whipped Cream: In a stand mixer fitter with the whisk, or using electric beaters or a hand whisk, combine reserved cream with mascarpone (if using), Scotch, and honey, along with a pinch of salt. Beat until a stiff whipped cream forms.
To Assemble: In individual serving glasses, spread an even layer of whipped cream. Top with a layer of the raspberry purée. Sprinkle some toasted oats on top, then add one more layer of the whipped cream to fill (or nearly fill) the glasses. Garnish each with the reserved whole raspberries, sprinkle additional toasted oats on top, and drizzle with honey. Serve.
You can use rolled or steel-cut oats; rolled make lighter, crispier toasted flakes, while steel-cut oats have a more firm and crunchy bite. You can use all sorts of Scotch here, including deeply smoky and peaty ones, though most of our tasters preferred a lighter, more honeyed style. Blended Scotch is a more cost-effective choice here; Dewar's is one good option.