Celebrate with our holiday take on a favourite Scottish dessert. We swapped traditional raspberries with cranberries mixed into an “ahhhhh”-some sauce with honey, orange zest, and our rich Dark Brown Sugar. Crunchy oats and whisky-infused whipped cream complete this layered delight. It’s a show-stopping finish for a festive meal.

Prep time
15 minutes
30 minutes chilling time
15 minutes cooling time

Cook time
8 to 10 minutes

6 servings

Holiday Cranberry Cranachan portrait

Ingredients & equipment

For the cranberries:

2 cups (220 g) fresh cranberries, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) heather honey (see Chef’s Tips)

⅓ cup (83 ml) water

¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1 tsp (2 g) orange zest, finely grated

¼ tsp (2 g) salt

For the oats:

1 cup (134 g) steel-cut oats

⅓ cup (72 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1 tbsp (15 ml) heather honey, manuka honey, or amber honey

¼ tsp (2 g) salt

For the whipped cream:

2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream

¼ cup (30 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar

¼ cup (63 ml) Scotch/whisky

Garnishes (optional):

Fresh cranberries


Orange zest


Scale OR dry measuring cups

Liquid measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Food processor fitted with a metal blade OR large cutting board and sharp knife

Medium bowl x 3

Plastic wrap OR lid for bowl

Heavy-bottomed saucepan (small)

Heatproof spatula x 2

Shallow dish OR large bowl

Baking sheet

Parchment paper OR silicone baking mat

Medium skillet (preferably nonstick)

Stand mixer with whisk attachment OR large bowl with hand mixer

Small bowl

Large rubber spatula

Dessert glasses (8 to 10 oz) OR dessert dishes x 6


For the cranberries:

Step 1
Place 1 cup (110 grams) of the cranberries into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to chop the cranberries roughly; varying-sized pieces are ideal.

Step 2
Transfer chopped cranberries into a bowl and drizzle with the honey. Stir to evenly coat the cranberries. Cover and set aside.

Step 3
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, orange zest, and salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the remaining whole cranberries to the saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop and soften and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Step 4
Transfer to a shallow dish or large bowl to cool quickly. Place, uncovered, into the fridge to chill completely; 25 to 30 minutes.

For the oats:

Step 1
While the cranberries cool, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2
Place a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add the steel-cut oats to the warm, dry pan. Shake and stir until oats are warm; 1 minute. Sprinkle the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, honey, and salt over the surface of the oats. Stir the oats with a heatproof spatula until sugar begins to melt and oats begin to toast; 5 minutes, or until the oat mixture begins to clump together and is a deep golden colour.

Step 3
Remove from heat and spread oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in as thin a layer as possible. Let cool completely; about 15 minutes.

Step 4
Divide cooled oats evenly into 2 bowls, breaking any large clumps into smaller pieces.

For the whipped cream:

Step 1
In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (see Chef’s Tips), whip the heavy cream on medium speed until slightly thickened. Sift in the Redpath® Icing Sugar and add the Scotch or whisky. Whip on medium to medium-high until stiff peaks begin to form. The whisk attachment will leave distinct trails in the thickened cream, and when the whisk is lifted, the peaks should hold; do not over-whip.

Step 2
Remove 1 cup of the whipped cream into a small bowl and place it in the fridge.

Step 3
Quickly fold cooled oats from one of the bowls into the remaining 3 cups of whipped cream.

To assemble (see Chef’s Tips):

Step 1
Quickly fold cooled oats from one of the bowls into the remaining 3 cups of whipped cream. Fold the chopped cranberry mixture into the chilled cranberry sauce until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Step 2
Have 6 glasses ready. Place about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the whipped cream mixture into the bottom of each glass. Place about 2 tablespoons of the cranberry mixture over the whipped cream. Sprinkle about a tablespoon or so of the oat mixture over the cranberry layer. Repeat process until glasses are filled.

Step 3
Divide the plain whipped cream among the 6 servings and top with a drizzle of the cranberry sauce and a sprinkle of the toasted oats. Garnish with a few whole cranberries, a drizzle of honey, and/or orange zest, if desired.

Step 4
Serve immediately.

Chef's Tips

*Ideally, the honey used should be heather honey for an authentic Scottish experience. However, use Manuka honey or amber-coloured honey if unavailable.

*Any whisky can be used according to preference. However, it’s not necessary to use a vintage or very expensive whisky; save that for enjoying in a glass. Look for an 8- to 12-year-old Scotch or blended whisky that has notes of fruits, vanilla, and/or honey. Though some may enjoy it, for a wider appeal, avoid heavily peated or smoky Scotch as this may overpower the sweet and tart flavours of the cranberries and cream.

*If serving to children or guests who should not consume alcohol, omit Scotch/whisky and replace with 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and/or a tablespoon of honey.

*To ensure a gluten-free dessert, look for steel-cut oats that have gluten-free on their label. Virtually all whiskies are gluten-free.

*Place bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before whipping the heavy cream; this will help the cream whip up more quickly.

*Assembly of the dessert is best done just before serving, or at most, 15 minutes in advance. Alternatively, guests can assemble the dessert themselves. Have dessert glasses or bowls on hand. Place the dessert's components in separate bowls, allowing guests a DIY experience.

*If there are any leftover oats, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Sprinkle on ice cream or over fresh fruit, stir into yogurt, or add to hot oatmeal for texture and crunch.

*To make this dessert a Canadian Cranachan, substitute a local honey or pure maple syrup for the heather honey and use Canadian whisky.

*The cranberries and the toasted oats can be made in advance for easy preparation. Store cranberries in an airtight container in the fridge. Store toasted oats in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can successfully be used in place of the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar. Note that the resulting dessert will be slightly paler in colour, and the caramel notes will be less pronounced.

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