I was sitting on the couch the other night after a long day of recipe development, when a recipe contest popped up on my facebook page. It was for the “Spar for the Spurtle” with Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. I use Bob’s products all the time, but I had never cooked with these oats.

Intrigued, I learned what a spurtle was and why I wanted to spar for it. I checked it out further and discovered that the prizes include a trip to Oregon and Scotland – two places I haven’t been yet. I had to drop everything and enter.

This contest was a challenging because I needed to produce a 3-minute video to accompany the recipe. Sleep is over-rated right?

Steel cut oats take a good 30 minutes to cook, but this recipe had to be done in 30 minutes. The rules provided a couple of secrets though. We are allowed to pre-soak or pre-toast the oats.

I pre-soaked 3 bowls with different amounts of liquid and then I came home after work tonight, grabbed the best bowl and hoped for the best. Well…a little more thought went into than that, but it’s all gone by so fast.

I wanted to make a Scottish recipe since the judges in the end will ultimately be in Scotland. I decided on a dessert called Cranachan.

I have to be honest. I’m not really sure how to pronounce it. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos trying to figure it out, but I think I still butcher it. Guess Bob will have to fly me to Scotland to learn the real way.

Warm Cranachan from ZestuousCranachan is a dessert traditionally made with raspberries and whipped cream folded with oats and whisky. My version has a Zestuous twist. I decided to turn this cool dessert into something that will warm your insides.

The oats are soaked in half and half and whisky and then warmed to a porridge like consistency. The raspberries are heated down to a sauce. Forget whipped cream. I’m going crème anglaise…with whisky, vanilla and a whole nutmeg seed.

Then, for crunch, I toasted and caramelized steel cut oats and hazelnuts.

Since I was under the crunch (pun intended), the first time I tasted this completed recipe was on camera while I was filming my entry. It’s a good thing I didn’t cuss on camera it was that good.

I left a couple sitting on the counter while I started editing the video and my husband dug right in. He usually turns his nose up at anything with a hint of liquor in it, but ate the whole glassful. I swear if I would have walked in 5 seconds later, he would have been licking the bottom of it.

Really, this is that good. Fingers crossed Bob likes it too. We’ll see. My video entry is below:

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Warm Cranachan

Servings: 6 servings


Whisky Soaked Oats

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 teaspoons whisky
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Raspberry Sauce

  • 18 raspberries for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • juice of half 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Crispy Oats

  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • nutmeg zested 10 times

Whisky Crème Anglaise

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 whole nutmeg seed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whisky


Whisky Soaked Oats

  • Combine 1 cup Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats in a bowl with the half and half, whisky and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and soak in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  • Place in a saucepot and heat over medium heat, until warm, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Raspberry Sauce

  • Cook 1 cup raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Strain through a sieve. Discard the seeds. Set aside.

Crispy Oats

  • Place all ingredients in a skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Watch it carefully as the sugar starts to melt. Once it’s all melted. Turn it out onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool. Set aside.

Whisky Crème Anglaise

  • Heat milk, cream, nutmeg and vanilla in a saucepot over medium heat, until it reaches 170 degrees (or tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pot). Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  • Gradually, whisk milk into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Pour back into the pot and cook over medium heat, until the cream begins to coat a spoon, about 185 degrees. Don’t over cook or your eggs will scramble.
  • Pour the mixture through the sieve into a bowl.
  • Stir in the whisky. Set aside.


  • Spoon Whisky Soaked Oats evenly into the bottom of 6 sundae glasses.
  • Evenly pour raspberry sauce over the oats.
  • Evenly pour the Crème Anglaise over the raspberries.
  • Top with Crispy Oats and 3 fresh raspberries.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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