sadly--and i mean extremely so--i know more about pete burns than i do about robert burns (in my defense, "you spin me round" is a lot easier to understand than "auld lang syne"). however, i do have a soft spot for scotland (literally--i fell down a flight of stairs in edinburgh and i doubt i've ever fully recovered), and as january 25th is the bard's birthday (rabbie, not pete), i thought i would provide a recipe for anyone oot there who is planning on celebrating burns night. no, not haggis--which i don't have a problem with, by the way--but instead a dessert based on the traditional cranachan, which is double cream folded in with whisky and oats. my version has caramelized toasted oats and a verrrrra nice whisky folded into vanilla ice cream, and served with a raspberry sauce and a shard of caramelized oatmeal brittle made from the same stuff as the oats folded into the ice cream (shades of el lissitzky via franz ferdinand in the plating). i used a good quality store-bought ice cream, but feel free to bust out your ice cream makers, as most commercial brands are a bit too sweet for this recipe.
to pieman, bramble and p, melissa, pille, malcolm, judith, lisle, stephen, all the michaels and mikes, andrew, and all scots--honorary or otherwise--and of course, mr. burns and his much maligned haggis: i raise my glass to you. sláinte.
caramelized oatie ice cream
for the caramelized oatmeal and garnish:
1/2 to 2/3 cup scottish (or pinhead/steel-cut/coarse) oatmeal (i used this brand)
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup water
for the raspberry sauce**:
2 cups frozen raspberries
2 tbsp sugar
**(i highly recommend, however, that if you have fresh raspberries, use those as a garnish and skip this sauce)
1 gallon high-quality vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (or make your own with a reduced amount of sugar)
a good quality whisky, to taste (i used 1/4 cup but you might want to use less--be careful using more as it will hamper re-freezing efforts)
toast the oatmeal in a dry skillet over moderate to high heat, swirling occasionally, until golden. this will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. be careful not to burn the oats. set aside.
make the caramel by placing the sugar and water in a medium saucepan, and oddly enough, like the oatmeal, cook over moderate heat and swirl occasionally, until it has turned into a golden syrup, about 12 to 15 minutes.
add the oats to the caramel, and spread onto a silpat-covered baking sheet (or oiled/buttered baking sheet). use an oiled heat-resistant flat spatula to help spread out the oats as thin as you can manage. while the caramel is still warm, cut out shapes for the garnish with an oiled, sharp knife (or just break off chunks later when it has completely cooled) and set aside. allow the remaining oat mixture to cool, then place into a plastic zippy type bag and bash about with a rolling pin to break up the oaties into somewhat fine nuggets.
fold the oatie nuggets and whisky into the ice cream, and refreeze in molds or in a container so it can be scooped out later. i recommend doing this no more than 24 (oh ok, 48) hours ahead of serving, as the oats will get soggy.
make the raspberry sauce by cooking down the raspberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over moderate heat (do you sense a theme?), mushing them slightly as you go, about 7 to 10 minutes. run through a sieve, but add back a bit of the pulp for texture. keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
garnish as desired.