A creamy Scottish dessert; the perfect end to a vegan Burns’ Night supper.
In my brief series of Scottish delights here on the blog, Cranachan is another a simple dish, using thoroughly Scottish ingredients: oatmeal, raspberries and whisky.
In order to veganise it, I’ve diverged from tradition by using coconut cream and maple syrup (instead of double cream and honey).
It comes out just as light and tastes just as good.
Originally, Crowdie (a simple curd cheese) was used in this dessert, and I’ve noticed that a lot of Cranachan recipes bypass this, but it’s so easy to do, I thought I’d go back to the very beginning and make some, because it’s actually very easy.
Crowdie is made by curdling milk and separating the curds from the whey. Incidentally, you end up with a lovely soft cheese that resembles Ricotta and can be flavoured with salt, pepper and herbs such as chives or basil.
The whey can be used in soups and stews, so there’s no waste!
PS. Cranachan recipe with or without Crowdie follows below!
makes between 220 – 275 gms.
Cook’s Note: a jam thermometer is useful here – but not absolutely essential.
- 1 litre Soya Milk (this is the best milk to make a vegan curd cheese because of its high protein content.)
- 4 tbs. cider vinegar – or lemon juice ( I used vinegar)
- Place the milk in a deep-sided, non-reactive saucepan, and place the pan on a medium heat.
- If using, place the jam thermometer in the milk.
- Bring the milk to a temperature of 95C or about 195F.
- Basically, this is just below boiling point.
- The milk will bubble gently around the edges, and the surface will move gently.
- Don’t let it come to a foaming or rolling boil.
- Reduce the heat and maintain the temperature.
- If you’re not using a thermometer, watch the milk carefully. Don’t let the tiny bubbles subside. The surface of the milk will continue to move a little.
- Keep the milk heating at the same temperature for 20 mins.
- Remove from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and remove the skin if one has formed.
- Add the vinegar, and stir gently and briefly. You will see curds beginning to form almost immediately.
- Leave the milk to cool completely.
- Place a nylon sieve lined with two layers of unbleached muslin (approx. 35cm. square), over a large bowl. (See pics.)
- When the milk has completely cooled (you should be able to see the curds), pour it into the sieve so the whey starts to drip though into the bowl.
- Leave for 15-20 mins.
- Then take the 4 corners of the muslin, and pull them together to form a bag.
- Tie the top of the bag with string, and suspend it from a hook on a shelf, or something similar, keeping the bowl under the muslin bag.
- Leave for 2-3 hours. You can gently squeeze the bag to speed up the process.
- Remove the string from the bag, and turn the cheese into a bowl.
Before I move on to Cranachan – I’d just like to say that this is the simplest vegan cheese to make, and it is really quite versatile. You can whisk it for a lighter smoother texture. I like it mixed with salt, pepper and chives. Mix the cheese with the flavourings, and then leave it to chill for a few hours in a ramekin, covered with a disc of baking parchment, and let the flavours infuse the cheese. Use as Ricotta on a Pizza, or in a Briam, (Greek baked vegetables) or just spread it on oatcakes. Delicious.
- 80 gms. medium or coarse oatmeal
- 40 gms. raw light muscovado sugar
- 30 ml. water
- 225 gms. raspberries (I used homegrown frozen raspberries – defrost before use)
- 160 ml. tin of coconut cream (chilled overnight) – if using coconut milk, pour off the water and use only the thick cream.
- 120 gms. Crowdie or/ a light, neutral-flavoured vegan cream cheese / or you could try 120 gms. of a good, thick non-dairy yogurt (+ a little extra sweetener perhaps).
- 20 – 40 ml. whisky (or 2 tbs. vanilla extract)
- 20-30 ml. maple syrup
- Toast the oatmeal in a dry skillet for 4-5 mins. It should be fragrant and pale gold in colour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, on a medium-high heat, add the muscovado sugar and the water.
- Bring the sugar syrup to the boil, and boil rapidly for 2-3 mins.
- Remove the sugar syrup from the heat, and add the toasted oatmeal.
- Turn it all out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool.
- When cool and brittle, place the caramelised oatmeal in a food processor and blitz on pulse until it resembles coarse oatmeal again. This process gives the oatmeal real crunch and texture when it’s mixed in with the cream.
- Choose 12 of the best looking raspberries and set aside.
- Place the rest of the raspberries in a small saucepan on a low heat, and simmer very gently for 7-8 mins. until they soften considerably. Remove the raspberries from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Cook’s note: for best results put this dessert together not long before eating. You can prepare the raspberries and the caramelised oatmeal in advance. The finished dessert will be OK in the fridge for an hour or so…but be careful as the crunchy oatmeal will start to soften and you’ll lose the texture.
- In a medium sized bowl, place the chilled coconut cream, and whisk it until it is light and fluffy. 2-3 mins.
- Whisk in the Crowdie/Cream Cheese, until smooth and thoroughly blended. 1 min. should do it.
- Briefly whisk in the whisky/ or vanilla extract (taste as you go – particularly if using whisky) and the maple syrup.
- Taste for sweetness. Adjust accordingly. It shouldn’t be overly sweet.
- Add 80 gms. of the caramelised oatmeal crumbs. Stir in gently. (Reserving approx. 20gms. for the garnish).
- Take 4 slim glasses, and put a layer (about 1.5 tbs. of the cream/oatmeal mixture in the bottom of each one.
- Then a layer (about 1 tbs.) of the cooled cooked raspberries. Use about half of the raspberries.
- Then add second layers of creamy oatmeal leaving enough for a third layer.
- Add the final layers of raspberries and then the final layers of oatmeal cream.
- Scatter the remaining caramelised oatmeal crumbs on top, and garnish with the reserved whole raspberries.
Happy Burns’ Night!