In this week's The Willowbee Tree story, “Have Fun Finding,” everyone wants to know how Little Ty can always find anything lost. Whenever they ask, he only answers, "I just find it."
But then, the Willow Tree takes the children to Loch Ness in Scotland, and a fun-loving otter explains to everyone the best way — and Ty's way — to find something. And oh, what they find!
While it would be fun to have a Nessie sighting, if I were visiting Scotland and had Little Ty's gift I think I'd go raspberry picking. Scottish raspberries are famous for being perfect and sweet—wouldn't it be handy to be able to find them quickly?
And when I had a basketful of berries, I'd use them to whip up a batch of cranachan.
Cranachan is a Scottish dessert, through and through. In its classic form it has only five ingredients—oats, raspberries, honey, cream, and whisky — all as Scottish as a tartan plaid.
To make it suitable for kids, the version below substitutes orange juice for whisky, but other than than I wouldn't dare tinker with such a classic. The only word of advice I can give you is to use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on — ripe berries, organic cream, good honey, the works! Layered like a parfait or trifle, the resulting dish has a whiff of clean highland air, sparkling blue lochs, and stone castles inhabited by good fairies. If you want to find Scotland in a bowl, this isn't a bad way to look.
- For the whipped cream mixture:
1/3 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup (½ pint) whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
- For the raspberries:
12 ounces raspberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange juice
- For the oat topping:
1/4 cup steel cut oats
Toast 1/3 cup steel cut oats in a small skillet. It will only take a few minutes, so stay close by. The oats are toasted when they start to smell deliciously nutty. Pour the oats into a small bowl with ½ cup of orange juice. Cover, and let the oats soak in the orange juice for at least three hours, and up to overnight.
When the oats are ready, go through the raspberries and pick out four really beautiful berries. Set those aside to use as garnish, then mash the rest of the berries with a tablespoon each of honey and orange juice. Set aside.
Next, toast the remaining 1/4 cup steel cut oats, just as you did the first batch. Set those aside, too.
Then, using a stand or hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks start to form. Add two tablespoons each of honey and orange juice, and whip the mixture about thirty seconds more to combine.
Drain any extra liquid off the oats that have been soaking in the orange juice, then gently fold them into the whipped cream.
To put this dessert together, gather the whipped cream mixture, raspberries, and toasted oats, along with four serving glasses. (Half-pint mason jars are just the right size.)
Then, begin layering the ingredients—berries, cream, toasted oats, berries, cream, toasted oats—until the glasses are full. End with one last sprinkle of toasted oats and pop one of your pretty reserved raspberries on top.
These will keep in the fridge for a few hours, but the whipped cream will eventually begin to deflate, so they're best eaten on the day they're made.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.