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Cranachan Parfait (Iced Scottish Dessert)

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Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert often served for St Andrew’s Day, a Burn’s supper or just a good Scottish celebration. To celebrate the Auld Alliance in France with Scotland, I have given it my own original French twist to make a Cranachan Parfait.

The result is a no-churn honey and Whisky ice cream topped with crispy oat praline and served with fresh raspberries on rounds of buttery shortbread.

dome of honey ice cream on a disk of shortbread topped with praline and raspberries

What is Scottish Cranachan?

The Scottish Cranachan is a dessert originally served to celebrate the summer harvest festival. It’s particularly popular served as dessert for traditional Scottish celebrations such as Saint Andrew’s Day (30 November) and Burn’s Night (25 January).

The word, Cranachan, comes from the Scottish Gaelic, meaning ‘to churn’.

It is simply made with few ingredients: double cream mixed with oatmeal, Whisky and honey and fresh raspberries.
Many Scots love to soak the oatmeal in Whisky – others like to toast it.

Is Cranachan a Parfait?

Traditionally, Cranachan is not a parfait.

Perhaps I have confused some people on the internet but happy to report that this recipe is my very own original French twist to the Scottish classic. It’s all in the spirit of the Auld Alliance (‘Vieille Alliance’ between Scotland and France).

So this is an ice cream version of this classic Scottish dessert, served on homemade shortbread and topped with oat praline and fresh raspberries. For a simpler, more classic version, see my friend, Christina’s recipe – which is approved by Outlander actor, Sam Heugan!

Cranachan parfait

When is Cranachan Normally Served?

Cranachan is normally served in November for St Andrew’s Day on 30th and on January 25th at a Burn’s Supper – or indeed, for any form of Scottish celebration menu.

mini cranachan dessert in front of a crackling fire

a mini party-sized Cranachan to celebrate St Andrew’s Day at the British Embassy in Paris

What if I can’t find Fresh Raspberries in Winter?

However, in winter we are often short on fresh, seasonal raspberries – as in France, fruit is all naturally geared around the seasons.

Frankly, there’s still nothing to beat the best Scottish raspberries. I miss them. Luckily at our local French farmers’ market, I can sometimes find some tart raspberries from Morocco. Surprisingly, they were exceptionally full of flavour for winter.

So, if you can’t find good quality fresh berries, thinly spread some good quality raspberry jam on the shortbread rounds before placing the Cranachan parfaits on top. In a normal Cranachan, use defrosted frozen berries – or a good quality fruit purée.

Enjoy this for any Scottish occasion, or at any time of the year and ideally serve with a good single Malt Whisky.
Just add blueberries if wanting to be patriotic for a red-white-blue dessert.
Incidentally, the Gaelic word for cheers translates as Health, just like the French. Cheers, Santé, Sláinte !

pouring creamy mixture into moulds

Cranachan Parfait: Developing the Recipe

For the parfaits, I took inspiration from Michelin starred chef, Anne-Sophie Pic. She makes a vanilla parfait by making a hot syrup and pouring it directly onto egg yolks and whisks until frothy. She then adds whipped cream and turns it into spherical moulds.

Instead, I simply replaced the syrup with a runny floral honey (if in Scotland, use heather honey) and since I was adding Whisky to the cream, doubled the portion of egg yolks in order for it to solidify more in the freezer. As the freezing point isn’t the same with the alcohol, the ice creams come out beautifully soft.

If you prefer a stronger-in-alcohol Scottish dessert, then try this no-churn Whisky liqueur ice cream, delicious with chocolate fondant cake.

How to Make Cranachan Iced Parfaits

step by step method how to make parfaits made with whipped cream and egg yolks, Whisky and honey

Beat together the yolks and heated honey. Whip the cream, add Whisky (or Whisky liqueur) and fold the two mixtures together. Pour into moulds, chill and freeze for at least a couple of hours – preferably overnight.

Crispy Oat Praline

Instead of oatmeal for the traditional dessert, I’ve made a simple praline with porridge oats to add a slight crunch for the texture. If you love crunchy praline on desserts, try this nutty French nougatine recipe.

step by step how to make a caramel with added oats

How to make the oat praline: First make a caramel by heating the sugar on a medium to high heat without stirring for about 5-10 minutes. Once it turns golden, shake the pan to dissolve the sugar further into the caramel, add the butter, mix together with the porridge oats with a wooden spoon.

golden oat praline on baking tray

This oat praline is deliciously buttery and can keep so well in a sealed jar – great for sprinkling on any caramel desserts or ice cream. Then make homemade buttery shortbread disks to go underneath the honey and Whisky ice cream domes.

Shortbread Recipe

As my Granny’s Black Book of Baking contains several shortbread recipes, here I have used one of her best – my personal favourite. This shortbread recipe uses more butter than her other recipes, so it compliments this dessert well.

What’s more, it’s easy to work with so it’s a win-win.

step by step recipe how to make buttery shortbread rounds

Normally with shortbread recipes, we place the dough directly into a non-stick baking tray and flatten it out using a palette knife. Before it’s baked in the oven, we score the shapes desired using a knife and cut in advance.

For this recipe, however, to make it easier and with no wastage for cutting out the same size of disks for the ice cream parfaits, I roll out the dough first, cut into disks with a cookie cutter or glass and place apart on a non-stick baking tray. By chilling simply for 10 minutes, this stops the shortbread rounds from spreading. Then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

taking a golden round shortbread cookie off the baking tray

Perfect shortbread thins, just the right size to place underneath the Cranachan ice cream domes – to compliment a really Scottish dessert – with a parfait French touch!

turning out parfaits from a silicone mould next to plates with thin shortbread rounds

Can I make Cranachan Parfaits without the moulds?

No moulds? No worries. This Cranachan Parfait recipe doesn’t have to be made using moulds. In fact, it’s even easier!

Pour the cream mixture into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper and once chilled in the fridge, cover with cling film and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze overnight. When ready to serve, un-mould onto a serving plate and cut into slices.

Likewise, if not using moulds, then for the shortbread, score rectangular shapes with a knife while still warm to make it easier to cut later. When cool, cut out shortbread fingers and serve with the ice cream slices.

honey parfaits on shortbread with raspberries and a macaron

What Can I Make with the Leftover 4 Egg Whites?

I have a few egg white recipes – so save the whites for later.

Keep the egg whites up to 5 days in a clean jam jar in the fridge (or freeze until ready to bake) to make macarons, financiers, dark chocolate mousse, tuiles, meringues and coconut macaroons from my books and le blog.

Can I Make this in Advance?

This is also a great make-ahead dessert, as the parfaits can keep in the freezer for up to 10 days, so it’s parfait to prepare this in advance. Just don’t forget to buy the raspberries on the day of serving.

Make this a gluten free dessert by replacing the shortbread with Cranachan Macarons or a giant pink macaron. Likewise, serve with raspberry and rose macarons. The cranachan macaron and giant macaron dessert chapter are both in my first book, Mad About Macarons!

honey ice cream dome on circle of shortbread topped with oat praline and raspberries

honey parfaits on shortbread with raspberries and a macaron
5 from 6 votes

Cranachan Parfait

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Freezing time2 hrs
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course : Dessert, teatime
Cuisine : French, Scottish
Keyword : cranachan, scottish desserts, parfait recipe, honeycomb ice cream, raspberry dessert, Whisky desserts
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 455kcal

Description

Cranachan Parfait, my original French twist to the traditional Scottish dessert of cream, honey, Whisky, oats, served with raspberries, topped with a crispy oat praline and served on disks of buttery shortbread.

Ingredients

Cranachan Parfaits

  • 4 egg yolks (organic, farm fresh)
  • 4 tbsp runny honey (Heather honey, if possible)
  • 2 tbsp Malt Whisky
  • 350 gr (12oz/ 1½ cups) Whipping Cream (30%) Heavy cream/ Crème fleurette

Oat Praline

  • 100 g (3½oz/ 1 1/5 cup) rolled oats
  • 75 g (3oz/ 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 25 g (1oz/ ¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel, Maldon or Celtic sea salt)

Shortbread

  • 200 g (7oz/scant cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 75 g (3oz/ 1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 200 g (7oz/1¾ cups) flour (all-purpose)
  • 75 g (3oz/5 tbsp) rice flour (or cornflour)
  • pinch salt
  • fresh raspberries to serve

Instructions

Cranachan Parfaits

  • Chill a large bowl in the fridge for the cream. Place the egg yolks in another large bowl, heat the honey without boiling it (I put it a few seconds in the microwave) and pour it over the yolks and beat with electric beaters (or a stand mixer) for about 10 minutes until thick and moussy.
  • In the chilled bowl, whisk the cream like a Crème Chantilly until soft peaks and the same consistency as the yolk-honey mixture. Add the Whisky and beat again until well mixed.
    Gently fold the 2 mixtures together and spoon either into spherical silicone moulds (this used 10 spheres), greased muffin tins, or in a lined cake tin. Transfer to the freezer for 2 hours or leave overnight to set.

Oat Praline

  • In a saucepan, heat the sugar over a medium heat without stirring. Just as it starts to change colour after about 5 minutes, shake the pan to dissolve all of the sugar into the caramel. Once the caramel is medium golden, add the butter, salt and stir to mix well then pour in the oats. Stir until the oats are well covered then immediately transfer to a baking tray.
  • Once cool, break the praline into small pieces and reserve in a jam jar.  (This can keep for about 10 days).

Shortbread Rounds

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.
    Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy (either by hand or in a stand mixer).  Gradually add the flour, rice flour and salt until the mixture comes together into a dough that's easy to work with. 
  • Roll the dough out with a rolling-pin until about 1cm thick. Cut out disks with a cookie cutter or glass (the same size as the moulds).
    Space out each shortbread disk on a non-stick baking tray (they will only slightly spread - to stop this chill in them directly on the tray in the fridge 10 minutes beforehand).
    Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 
  • Leave to cool on a wire tray.

To Serve

  • When ready to serve, place the shortbread disk on each plate (spread each with raspberry jam if no fresh raspberries), turn out the frozen parfaits at the last minute and place on top.  Sprinkle with the oat praline and, if using, serve with fresh raspberries.

Notes

Without moulds: this recipe can be made even easier without the moulds or shortbread. Simply freeze the honey and Whisky cream in a lined cake tin overnight and slice before serving. Serve with the oat praline and fresh raspberries.
What to do with leftover egg whites:
Store the egg whites in the fridge for 3-5 days and make macarons (recipes in my books), financiers, Tuiles, or chocolate mousse.
Otherwise freeze the whites in a sealed jar until ready to make them.
Measures: Please note that all my recipes are best made using digital kitchen scales in precise metric grams. Both ounces (and cups) are given as an approximate guide. 

This recipe was first published 20 January 2019 but is now completely updated.

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10 responses to “Cranachan Parfait (Iced Scottish Dessert)”

  1. 5 stars
    This dessert is beyond delicious! The oaty praline crunch puts it over the top. I will be making it again for my friends in a few days and post you a pic. Hope everyone tries it.

    • Bea – this is the best compliment ever, especially when you make the recipes. Thank you! I was thrilled with the results and I’m happy to say I have another batch of the iced parfaits in the freezer with leftover oat praline so looking forward to serving this again tonight. Easy peasy.

  2. 5 stars
    So I made the parfait for a Burns Night dinner party and everyone raved about it!
    Instead of the raspberry jam, we blitzed up some raspberries. It was straightforward to make, so my 10 year old daughter helped

    • That’s wonderful to hear. Thanks for the feedback, Nene. Glad you found fresh raspberries (always better!) and that your daughter joined in!

  3. 5 stars
    Anything with oats I find intriguing so I can’t wait to make this. Making them using the moulds is a treat too. I might make this today. It looks so delicious.

    • Thrilled you’ll be making this, Bea – and just in time for Burn’s Night!

  4. Your talents impress me so much! Although I’ve actually made cranachan, but not like this! Beautiful presentation.

    • You are so kind. Thank you, Mimi. I just wanted to try something a little different… hope you try this. The beauty with the parfaits is that you can make them ahead of time – the shortbread too.

  5. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this twist on Cranachan, Jill! My mouth is salivating just thinking about all the different flavors and textures here! That oat crumble alone is calling my name! Will have to try this as I’m sure my whole family would love it, too! Great recipe and thanks for linking back to mine! 🙂

    • It’s a pleasure, Christina. Thanks so much – hope you make the recipe. Hugs to the family!

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