On VHE this week, we have been looking at Scottish dishes that use oats.

Turns out the Scots have been eating oats since medieval times. Rather than grow wheat or maize, which requires lots of sunshine (something that isn’t readily available in that part of the world) clever Scottish farmers took to planting oats and barley instead, as they are happy in dark and damp conditions.

The barley goes into Scottish Whiskey and the oats make up a huge number of tasty dishes. In Part One we looked at a savoury dish;  Cheese and Oat Onion Pie today we move onto dessert.

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish Dessert.  It is very, very rich – in fact I would say it is the kind of dessert that you should eat after a nice healthy salad, to try and get some balance!

Cranachan Recipe

Cranachan really isn’t complicated to make, but it is a great word to say and it looks lovely in the glass, so it is the perfect dish for dinner parties.

The oats are what give the dish an unusual texture, crunchy and chewy, but also soft and creamy. So do make sure you have time to stand at the cooker and gently stir the oats while you’re toasting them.  They can catch and burn very quickly, which will ruin the whole thing.

If you like a drop of booze in your dessert, you should feel free to replace the vanilla essence for a drop of drambuie. You can also change fruit if you wish, to fit in with the seasons.  Although I think it is the tartness of the raspberries that cuts through the richness of the cream, so if you substitute them for say bananas, you’re going to get a dish that tastes very different from traditional Cranachan.


Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Scottish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Very rich dessert, the sharpness of the raspberries complements the cream perfectly. You can prepare these earlier and leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating, if you wish.
  • 75g coarse oatmeal
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 drops vanilla essence
  • 175g fresh raspberries
  1. Start by toasting the oatmeal in a frying pan, over a medium heat, stirring continuously for 15 minutes, until lightly browned
  2. Transfer the oats to a plate and leave to cool
  3. Whisk the cream to a soft consistency, add the honey and vanilla essence and mix in most of the oatmeal (save a little for decoration later)
  4. Add half of the raspberries to the cream, crushing them slightly, so that the cream has a slightly pink tinge
  5. Put half of the remaining raspberries into the bottom of two serving glasses or bowls
  6. Add the cream mixture to the bowls, ensure the top is smooth
  7. Decorate with the remaining oats and raspberries

So given these new dishes, I have to say I am seeing oats in a whole new light and won’t just be using them for porridge and flapjacks anymore.  Given how healthy they are, I’m curious to see what other recipes I can use them in.

I’ve also seen a new side to Scottish cuisine, not just the land of the deep-fried mars bar, but also a really inventive use of what is a simple food; oats.

Let me know if you try making Oat Pie or Cranachan, or any other oat based dish!

*Thanks to Mornflake for providing me with the oats


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