I reckon society can be divided into those who love haggis and those who have never tried it (but assume it must be disgusting). I fall firmly into the first category. Sure, if you read about the ingredients, haggis sounds grim. But, honestly, the little intestinal sacks of lamb and beef offal are delicious.
It’s Burns night on Tuesday. So you really ought to pick up a haggis or two for your supper next week. It’s very easy to cook – wrap in foil, place in an oven proof dish with a 3cm depth of water and cook at about 180c for 1-1:15hrs. Open up the foil, stab with a knife and scoop out.
The typical accompaniments are equally easy (and frugal): serve with swede (mash, butter, salt, pepper, grate some nutmeg), mashed pots (mash, butter, salt, pepper, milk, beat with wooden spoon), maybe some peas and savoy cabbage (blanch, refresh with cold water, reheat in a pan with oil, fennel seeds, salt and pepper). I like a jug of stock on the side to loosen things up a bit (a proper gravy would be too heavy). Traditionalists would pour a wee dram of whisky over the haggis.
You probably already know all of that.
But you may not be so aware of cranachan – a rather nice mix of whipped up cream (I also add yoghurt), honey, whisky, toasted oats and raspberries. Scotland’s answer to Eton mess.
We had a premature Burns night for lunch today (so not a night, nor on the right day. Hey ho). I made some shortbread (with a little bit of Twitter advice from the dude who won The Great British Bake Off. Cheers Edd) and served the cranachan in ramekins to make it look a little bit posh. Tasted good, though I should really have used (a) a better single malt whisky; and (b) more of it. The recipe below reflects that.
All very easy – give it a go on Tuesday night. Don’t forget to address your haggis properly (or maybe just put your laptop in the kitchen and play the link as you serve up).
Shortbread (makes enough for 10 people)175g unsalted butter (at room temperature) 75g caster sugar 125g plain flour 75g ground rice flour
Cream the butter (in a food processor … or with a wooden spoon if you’re like me and don’t have a machine). Add the sugar and beat some more until well creamed. Sieve in your flours, little by little, stirring these into the butter and sugar mix. It’ll start to come together as a ball of dough. Use your hands towards the end, needing it so everything is picked up and the bowl is clean. Wrap the ball in clingfilm and fridge it for an hour.
Heat your oven to 180C (maybe make your cranachan whilst you’re waiting for the dough to cool?).
Roll the dough out on a floured board so that it’s about 3 mm thick. Use a round cutter to cut out circles of dough and place onto a baking sheet, relatively far apart (you may have to do a couple of batches). Cook for 10-15 minutes, so that the shortbread is light golden (but not brown). Take out and let it cool for a couple of minutes (it hardens as it cools). At this point, you’ll be thinking “why did I bother to cut rounds out, these have spread out and look crap”. True. Use your cutter again to cut the hardening biscuit, and pop each out onto a wire tray to cool. They’ll be nice. Alternatively, just cook in a round mould or rectangle and cut into triangles or fingers like you get from Marks and Spencers…
Cranachan (as if by design, fills 10 ramekins)600ml double cream 250ml natural yoghurt 2 level tbspns good runny honey 100g rolled oats (toasted until golden (make sure these are cool before you incorporate into the cream) 3 tbspns good single malt whisky (Talisker or better) 250g rasberries
Whip the cream until slightly more than soft peak (again, you can do this without a machine, you just need to put your elbow into it). Stir in the yoghurt, honey and whisky. Taste and see if you want to add a bit more honey or whisky. Puree half of the raspberries with a bit of water. Fold-in the puree along with half of the remaining whole raspberries and about 2/3 of the oats (don’t be too thorough – it’s nice if these are not completely incorporated, I think).
Stick a raspberry in the bottom of each ramekin and a sprinkle of oats. Load them up with cranachan and top with the remaining oats and raspberries. Or you could just serve in a large bowl and spoon-out portions. The shortbread is a nice contrasting texture to have on the side.
Clicking on the photos gets a brief slide show.