Sunday, 8 January 2012

Recipe Swap: Cranachan Zabaglione

Happy New Year one and all!  Firstly, I must apologise for my lack of blogging over the past month, it really has been a crazy end to the year culminating, in fact, on Hogmanay (New Years Eve) with my lovely father-in-law having a heart attack!  Thankfully, he is on the mend, but it was a scary few days! 
I did have an amazing Christmas though, the children had a fabulous time and I got to live out my long-held ambition to host Christmas Dinner at my house – with 13 (including baby Cameron) for lunch from ages 6 months to 91!  It was great.  Mum did the starter and my Turkey (a very local bird ordered through the brilliant Devenick Dairy), was delicious.  The best part of all though was the AMAZING brown sugar meringues with whipped cream and lemon curd – the recipes for which came from a cooking demonstration I went to a couple of months ago by Lady Claire MacDonald of Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye. I will post the recipes shortly as they are too good not to share!

At Devenick Dairy getting our Turkey
Back to this entry though, and it is recipe swap time again! Continuing the theme of puddings, the swap recipe this month is for Zabaglione, a traditional Italian dessert.  As she does every month, Christianna over at chooses a recipe from our current vintage cookbook The Second Ford Treasury of Favourite Recipes From Famous Eating Places” and we (20+) swappers post our take on the original recipe. Here is mine.
Once again, I thought I’d add a little Scottish twist to the swap and merge the cuisines of two of my favourite countries; something I starting doing when we lived in Florence (where for dinner at Hogmanay I made Haggis Lasagne for our guests - an unexpected success).

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert for which there are many variations.  It is made from cream, crowdie cheese, whisky, honey and oats.  I tried a few versions for the swap, as well as a few different whiskies from my husband’s collection and also a whisky liqueur, however the latter was far too sweet.  On Col’s advice, I settled on The Balvenie Doublewood (12yr), a whisky from the Speyside Region which he tells me has hints of fruits, honey and vanilla!  My resident whisky expert has also advised that it would be best to avoid the smokier, peatier malts of Islay for a dessert like this.
Anyway, I hope you like this fusion of two traditional puddings.  I am very happy with the result and think I will serve this on Burns Night later this month.  

4 large egg yolks
50g Caster Sugar
50ml Whisky
30g Porridge Oats
30g Soft Light Brown Sugar
100-150g Raspberries
Heat up your grill.  Line a baking tray with foil and spread out the oats and brown sugar.  Toast under the grill until golden brown – remembering to keep your eye on them and move them about frequently or they will very quickly burn!  Set aside and keep for later.
Fill a pan half full with water and bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
Put the yolks, caster sugar and whisky in a glass bowl (big enough to sit atop the boiling water without touching) and whisk all together with a hand-held mixer.  Set the bowl in the pan of boiling water and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, frothy, pale and creamy.  Be careful not to scramble the eggs!
Allow to cool slightly before adding two or three handfuls of the toasted oats to the mixture and gently and loosely mix in.  Then lightly squash a couple of handfuls of the raspberries in your hand before adding them in and mixing them in too.  (Keep a little of each to decorate).
Spoon the mixture into serving bowls or glasses and refrigerate for around three hours before serving.  Prior to serving, decorate with the remaining berries and sprinkle with some of the toasted oats.

Serve with some lovely Italian cantuccini or amaretti biscuits or some wee Scottish shortbreads.
(Serves 2)


  1. Hi Claire! I love that you always localize your swap dish! I'm not familiar with this dish (nor 'crowdie cheese') so love learning something new. The dessert sounds delicious and with a great choice of Scotch no less. Another success from your kitchen!

  2. Ditto! I love that you use local twists - I must say I've never cooked with Balvenie, only drank it! As always, I look forward to your unique posts!

  3. What a brilliant take on the recipe swap - it is always so interesting when people incorporate their cultural traditions. Shari from

  4. Wow, this looks amazing! I would love to eat this, adding oats and whiskey is sure way to get my husband interested too.

  5. I bet those crunchy toasted oats taste amazing with the smooth custard - great recipe!

  6. Yum! I love the fusion of the two puddings! And you're going to post your Haggis Lasagne recipe, right? RIGHT? (I can't wait to see it!)

  7. I am learning so much with this recipe swap! so many them all! looks like you had a nice holiday..thanks for sharing!

  8. I absolutely love all these bits of cultural knowledge I'm picking up from the recipe swap! This pudding sounds so delicious, comforting, and hearty (perhaps from the oats and whisky!). You're very lucky to have a resident whisky expert on hand : )
    I'm sorry to hear about your father-in-law - hope he is doing better!

  9. The recipe sounds absolutely wonderful. Its great to get a Scottish twist to the swap! Nice to have a whiskey expert at home to tell you what to use to make a perfect dessert!

    The brown sugar meringues sound absolutely wonderful too. I will wait for the recipe. Hopefully I'll have some lemon curd that I made for this swap to use on your brown sugar meringues!

  10. I love your Scottish twists. Makes me jealous I have no deep culinary roots. This dessert looks so good. Love the oats in it.
    Sorry about your father-in-law, glad to hear he is on the mend. xx

  11. You made this your own! One of the greatest parts about making a few different versions is eating them all! Keep up the great ideas!

  12. Oh, Claire, Haggis Lasagne? I am so intrigued by this - no. I have never had haggis in my life, but I am on very friendly terms with offal since the early age:) One of these days I will try haggis in the heart of Scotland!
    Have you ever thought of doing a whiskey primer for the rest of us mortals? My dad loves his Johnnie Walker and has only encountered single malts in last fifteen years, but I am pretty clueless:)
    I hope your father-in-law recuperates soon - you seem to have had a great amount of hardship recently. I wish I had a magic want to disperse all the negative:(
    Happy New Year to you and your family and try to keep warm (If I have to send you some of our Southern California sunshine to accomplish that, just give me a sign:)

  13. Never heard of Cranachan! Your version looks delicious, now I will have to go on a hunt to try some!

  14. Love the combination of custard and oats, and excited to see those brown sugar meringues get posted soon too!

  15. I love all the different flavors here. I never would have thought to add the oats. I bet this was delicious. I would have been tempted to call it a breakfast though. Eggs, oats, fruit, it IS practically breakfast, right? We'll just ignore the whiskey part and spend the morning at home. ;)

  16. What a great idea to toast the oats with brown sugar...and then to mix with whiskey. What a nicely rich and flavorful dessert! Sounds like a great way to start the new year :)

  17. I've never heard of Cranachan! (And shame on me, I'm like 75% Scottish!). This sounds AMAZING. I'm so glad I learned this today. And, of course, I always adore your recipe swap interpretations.


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