Last updated January 2, 2019

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:

Warm Cranachan

Yield: 6 servings

Warm Cranachan


    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.