Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burns' Night

We celebrated Burns' Night this evening with the traditional Scottish meal... haggis with neeps-and-tatties. There was a green salad thrown in as a nod to good nutrition, but tonight was all about the meat (so-called) and starch.

Mmmmm, yum!

I know, I know. The idea of haggis is very off-putting to many. But really, the notion that some parts of animals aren't fit for eating is a fairly new one.

Our grandparents lived through the Depression years, where waste simply wasn't an option. My parents were immigrants, and couldn't afford to be picky.

Even I, a farm-raised girl of the 70s/80s learned the necessity of not wasting food of any kind.

We ate hearts, gizzards, livers... although I believe my mom drew the line at kidneys. Even chicken-foot soup showed up semi-regularly at our house.

Anyhow... I don't know quite where that little rant came from... this evening we ate haggis. And it was really really good!!

But the piece de resistance of our little meal was dessert. Naturally.

This is Cranachan.

It's kind of an unpronounceable name. Lots of hissing and spitting in the back of your throat. Most Scottish words are like that. Kind of like German.

But I digress. Again.


Cranachan is a heavenly mixture of toasted oats, honey (heather honey, if you can get it) raspberries, and whipped cream.

It's not a diet dessert.

But you should make some and eat it. You won't regret it.

And it's easy, too. You almost don't need a recipe. But I'll try to make one up anyhow. I based mine roughly on several that I found online, and it was amazing.

So here goes:

You'll need:
  • 2 oz oatmeal (pinhead if you're in the UK and can get it... I just ran regular rolled oats through the food processor til they were not-quite-flour-sized.) 2 oz, for those who don't have a scale, works out to about 1/2 cup.
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or 2 Tbsp whiskey if you're not serving it to children)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
  • up to 1/2 cup honey
Prepare the components:
  • Spread oats thinly on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven til they're lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool before assembling the cranachan.
  • Whip the cream with the vanilla (or whiskey) till thickened. Set aside.
  • Mash raspberries til they're chunky. Stir in a dollop of honey.
To assemble:
  • Spread 1/3 of the cream on the bottom of the serving dish.
  • Sprinkle with 1/3 of the toasted oats
  • Drizzle with a bit of honey
  • Dollop 1/2 of the raspberries on top
  • repeat the layers (cream/oats/honey/raspberries)
  • Spread with remaining cream
  • Use a knife to slice through the layers and marble them lightly. Don't mix too much. Level the cream mixture nicely in the bowl.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining oats, and drizzle with some more honey.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 4 hours.
So there you have it. Eat it. Enjoy.

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