For Tasty Tuesday I have a very special guest and recipe for you all. Regan Walker writes regency historical romance and this story is a Christmas story set in Scotland and featuring a really delicious confection, cranachan. What is cranachan? Well, here’s Regan to tell you all about it. Enjoy!
Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert served at the Stephens in Arbroath in A Secret Scottish Christmas. It was a favorite of William Stephen, but new to his English guests. Today, it’s usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey, and fresh raspberries topped with toasted oatmeal. But in the Regency era, whisky was the equivalent of moonshine and the upper classes would more likely have used brandy if they wanted to make it with liquor.
Some of the best raspberries in the world are grown in Scotland, but in winter, bottled and preserved raspberries would be used. Today you can use frozen raspberries out of season, of course. If no cream was available, the Scots would use a traditional cream cheese called Crowdie.
The scene on Christmas Eve when cranachan was served:
For dessert, they had Will’s favorite, cranachan, a Scottish tradition their English guests had not sampled before.
“Anything in it we should know about?” asked Hugh, his spoon suspended above the layered confection.
“Not unless you are averse to toasted oatmeal, cream, honey, raspberries and a dash of brandy,” replied Ailie. “I assure you, no kale is hiding beneath the layers.”
Everyone laughed and picked up their spoons.
“Our cook bottled the raspberries herself last summer,” offered Emily.
Will licked some of the honeyed confection from his bottom lip. “If you don’t want yours, Ormond, old chum, I’d be happy to take it from you.” He made as if to reach his spoon toward Hugh’s cranachan.
Hugh raised his spoon like a sword poised to repel an attack. “You’re not getting mine ‘old chum’. I do believe I will like the dessert.”
Many chuckles echoed around the table.
Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!
Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.
Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?
Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!
Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?
- ⅓ cup + ¼ cup steel cut (pinhead) oats
- ⅓ cup Scotch whisky (use a top quality brand)
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 3 tbsp. Scotch whisky
- 3 tbsp. organic raw honey
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- The night before you want to make the dessert, toast ⅓ cup (2 oz.) of the oats in a cast iron or very heavy pan until very lightly browned- this won’t take long, so keep a close eye, as you don’t want burnt oats. Put the oats in a bowl and cover with ⅓ cup (3 oz.) of whisky. Cover and let stand overnight to soak.
- When you are ready to make the Cranachan, toast the second batch of oats, exactly the same as you did the first. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Choose a few choice raspberries to decorate the top and set them aside.
- Crush the rest of the raspberries in a bowl, with a spatula or fork (just a bit, we’re not making jam).
- Sprinkle the raspberries with 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of whisky. Mix well and set aside.
- Whip the cream until it starts to thicken, then add the other 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of whisky. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form, then fold in the whisky-soaked oats.
- At this point, we are ready to assemble the dessert. I would recommend doing this relatively close to serving time as the dessert will taste better fresh. (If possible, don’t make it in the morning to serve for dinner.)
- Place a spoonful or two of the raspberries to cover the bottom of the glass, then add some of the cream mixture.
- Sprinkle the cream with some of the toasted oats, then repeat the layers. Finish with the sprinkled oats and top with a raspberry or three.
Refrigerate until ready to eat, but take them out about 20 minutes before serving, for better flavor.
See it on Regan’s website here: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/cranachan.html
Regan Walker is an award-winning, Amazon bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full-time writer, she has seven times been featured in USA TODAY’s HEA column and nominated six times for the prestigious RONE award. (Her novels, The Red Wolf’s Prize and King’s Knight, won Best Historical Novel in the medieval category for 2015 and 2017, respectively.) In 2017, her novel The Refuge: An Inspirational Novel of Scotland won the Gold Medal in the Illumination Awards, and To Tame the Wind won the International Book Award for Romance Fiction.
Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government have given Regan a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown”. Hence her stories often feature a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels includes real history and real historical figures as characters. And, of course, adventure and love.
Keep in touch with her on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104 where you can join Regan Walker’s Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReganWalkersReaders/. You can sign up for her newsletter on her website, www.reganwalkerauthor.com
Pinterest Storyboard for the book: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/a-secret-scottish-christmas-by-regan-walker/
Amazon buy links:
Thanks so much, Regan! That cranachan sounds like something I may have to try this Christmas, right after I read A Secret Scottish Christmas story! Thanks for swinging by and sharing the recipe and snippet from the story.
What about you? Are you tempted to try either or both? Are you enjoying these guest author posts as much as I am?
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