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Traditional Scots Recipes – Desserts

Rhubarb Oatmeal Crumble

Using the traditional ingredient of oatmeal gives this crumble a lovely crisp, nutty top. And of course, if you don't like rhubarb, you can use fruits such as apple, black currants or gooseberries instead. The quantities below will make a crumble sufficient for 4 people.

Ingredients for Rhubarb:
1 pound (450g) rhubarb or other fruit
2 oz (60g or a generous one third of a US cup) sugar
3 or 4 tablespoons of water
A squeeze of lemon

Ingredients for the Crumble:
2 oz (60g or ½ US cup) flour
1 oz (25g or ¼ US cup) coarse oatmeal (the fresher the better)
2 oz (60g or a generous one third of a US cup) brown sugar
2 oz (60g or ½ US stick) butter or margarine

Cook the fruit with the sugar, water and lemon juice until it is soft but not mushy. Place in a deep pie dish. Mix together the ingredients for the crumble in the order given above. Warm the butter or margarine until it is soft (but not oily) before adding in. Once the crumble has been well mixed, sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F/200C/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes in the hottest part of the oven (near the top) or until the crumble is brown and crunchy.

Cranachan - serves 4

2 heaped tablespoons of toasted pinhead oatmeal
500 ml double cream
4 generous tablespoons Scotch whisky
1 generous tablespoon heather honey
450g Scottish raspberries

Spread an even layer of oatmeal on a baking sheet and either toast under a pre-heated grill for 3-5 minutes, or put in the bottom of warm oven until it turns brown. Take care not to burn it.
Lightly whisk the cream with the whisky and honey, then fold in the (cooled) toasted oatmeal.
Either fold in the raspberries, or pile the honey cream mixture on top of them in a tall glass.
Serve chilled.

Summer Pudding – should serve 4-6

(Note: This can be made with different seasonal fruits for an Autumn Pudding)

Slices of medium or thin white bread with crusts removed
500 g (1lb) of fresh soft fruit (raspberries, strawberries, brambles), washed, trimmed and cut if required
30 ml (1 fl oz) water
150g (5oz) caster sugar

Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a pan and add the fruit for a very short time, so that it keeps its shape. Remove the fruit from the pan and retain the syrup.
Line the base and sides of a 900ml (1½ pint) pudding basin with a layer of bread.
Fill the bowl with the fruit and add a little of the syrup, retaining the rest for use later.
Place more bread over the top of the bowl, then cover with greaseproof paper
Place a weight on top – e.g. a plate or saucer with a tin on top – and refrigerate overnight, along with the unused syrup.

To serve, turn the pudding upside down on to a serving dish. Pour the remaining syrup over. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Tablet is a traditional sweet confection which, if you like sugary things, is irresistible! You can add some flavouring from essence/extract as well, if you wish.

Ingredients (for 4 lbs/1.8kg tablet):
8oz (225g) butter or margarine
1lb (450g) sweetened condensed milk
4lb (1.8kg) castor sugar
1 pint (½ litre) water

Using a non-stick pan, put the water on a low heat and melt in the butter. Add the sugar and bring to the boil. It is important to keep stirring all the time. Once it is boiling, stir in the condensed milk and simmer for 20 minutes. Again, keep stirring to avoid it sticking/burning. Take off the heat and beat vigorously for five minutes, adding the flavouring of your choice. Pour into a rectangular greased tin and once it is partly cooled, cut into bars (roughly 5 inches long by 1/2 inches wide). Once the tablet is cold, wrap the bars in waxed paper and store in an airtight jar or tin.

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