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  • Writer's pictureSpiced Cranachan

Spiced Cranachan

As Burns Night approaches and we get ready to enjoy our traditional Burns suppers, why not add something a little unorthodox to the mix?

After a year of experimenting with different flavours and trialing various spice combinations, I've now settled on a recipe for Spiced Cranachan, the namesake of my blog.

Cranachan is traditionally a Scottish dessert celebrating the harvest, making use of the raspberry harvest in particular. Typically, it consists of Scottish oats, whipped cream, raspberries and honey, and has been called the 'Uncontested King of Scottish Dessert.'

I had originally decided upon Spiced Cranachan as the title of my blog for no other reason than it portrays the fusion of two cultures quite well. But the more I thought about it, the better the idea of an actual recipe for Spiced Cranachan sounded.

In my initial attempts, I had tried to spice the toasted oats directly with cardamom and cloves. While this gave the oats a delicious fragrance and warmth, it didn't complement the whisky and raspberries that well.

My subsequent attempts included spicing the raspberries or the cream, but these were equally unsuccessful and I was never 100% pleased with the outcome. I wasn't aiming for just fine - I wanted something that was worthy of both its Scottish and Indian roots.

And then, I got the idea to put panjiri into my cranachan.

Panjiri is a delicious dry and sweet treat native to North India, often eaten as a nutritional supplement. Many women consume panjiri after having a baby as it supposedly has nutritional benefits for both mother and child, while others consume it to ward off the cold during winter.

Panjiri is usually made from flour, ghee and sugar, along with various nuts, spices and seeds. The idea first came to me as I watched my mother make it when the weather started to turn a little colder. The aromas from the spices and nuts were so warming and cosy, and the overall result reminded me a little of crumble.

A meaningful and historical dish, it seemed the perfect accompaniment to traditional cranachan.

The texture of the oats in combination with the crunchiness of the nuts, the fragrance of the spices and the warmth of the whisky, all topped off with refreshing cream and sweet raspberries. What could be better on these cold winter nights?

I opted for a range of nuts throughout the recipe. The oats had crushed almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, while the panjiri contained almonds and pistachios as well as an assortment of seeds for added texture.

I then had to decide which spices I would use. I played around with different panjiri recipes and different toasted oats for a while before deciding that I would add spice to both instead of just one. The oats would be toasted with ground ginger for a little added warmth and the panjiri would contain some particularly aromatic spices typically found in Indian desserts; namely, cardamom, fennel and, of course, cinnamon.

Panjiri usually contains dried fruits such as coconut and berries, however I thought these additions would only complicate the dish and that was the last thing I wanted. Fusion cooking can be complex and intricate, but excessive is something you definitely want to avoid. It's a fine line, but a rewarding one if done right.

You may end up with some excess panjiri / oat mixture - but this can be re-used later on as granola which you can make into snack bars or have with milk for breakfast!

I also chose to make a raspberry confit instead of raspberry puree. This was to balance against the spices and keep the dish tasting like a dessert. However, if the sweetness is too much, simply reduce how much sugar you are adding. Some people prefer their cranachans less sweet anyway, so this is perfectly fine.

Traditionally, Burns night is celebrated with a Burns supper, consisting of haggis, neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes), and often cranachan as dessert. Burns nights can include Scottish music, ceilidh dancing and poetry by Robert Burns, for whom the night is named.

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who lived in the 1700s. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. He has written works in the Scots language and Scots dialect, although much of his poetry and writing is in English and can be understood by a wide audience.

He is also the writer of Auld Lang Syne which is often sang at Hogmanay throughout the world. To anyone who hasn't read the works of Burns, I would recommend To a Mouse (my personal favourite) after which the novel Of Mice and Men was named.

His life and works are annually celebrated on the 25th January. So tonight, why not celebrate Burns Night with a little more spice and than usual?



  • 300g rolled oats

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

  • 70g mixed nuts

  • 7 tbsp honey

  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

  • 300g raspberries

  • 180g caster sugar

  • 3 tbsp warm water

  • 300ml double cream

  • 1 - 2 tbsp whisky

  • 40g almonds

  • 50g pistachios (shells removed)

  • 120g plain flour

  • 70g granulated sugar

  • 7tbsp vegetable oil

  • 40g ground almonds

  • 20g mixed seeds

  • 40g almond flour

  • 4 cardamom pods

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

  • 1 tsp pine nuts

  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp linseed

  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds

  • pinch of ground cinnamon

  • pinch of poppy seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Add 5 tbsp of the honey and the vanilla bean paste to a saucepan and heat over a low flame. Meanwhile, roughly chop the mixed nuts, or grind them in a pestle and mortar, and add to a mixing bowl alongside the oats and ground ginger. When the heated honey has become thinner in consistency, slowly stir it into the oat mixture. Make sure the oats and nuts are completely coated in honey.

  2. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper and spread the honeyed oats evenly across it. Toast in the oven for roughly 25-30 minutes, turning the oats over at 10 minute intervals. Once toasted, set aside to cool.

  3. To make the raspberry confit, add the raspberries, sugar and water to a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Lightly crush the raspberries with a wooden spoon, then stir occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until it thickens considerably, enough to coat the back of the spoon. Set aside to cool.

  4. Whisk the double cream continuously for about 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. When you can form soft peaks with the whisk, stir in the whisky and what remains of the honey. Allow to cool in the fridge.

  5. To make the panjiri, place the pistachios and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped and set aside. Grind the cardamom seeds and fennel in a pestle and mortar then set aside. Add the flour to a wok and place over a medium/low heat. Add the oil to the flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. The mixture should begin to resemble a sort of thin batter. The flour will begin to give off a 'cooked' scent after roughly 5-10 minutes; when this happens, add the ground spices, cinnamon, seeds and chopped nuts. Stir for 5 minutes and add the granulated sugar. Continue to stir the mixture for a further 5 minutes while slowly incorporating the almond flour. The mixture should now resemble a dry crumble. After ensuring there are no large lumps, turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

  6. Once the toasted oats, raspberry confit, whisky cream and panjiri have cooled, assemble the cranachan. Alternate layers of the oats, confit, cream and panjiri into serving dishes or glasses. If the confit has become too thick, stir in a little water. Serve with a little fresh mint (optional).

Serves 8.


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