January 25th is Burns Night, a yearly celebration of poetry and food to celebrate the beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns (held on his birthday). I covered a complete Burns Supper menu previously, but for this week’s Pastry Post-Doc I will be featuring the best part of any meal – the dessert. One of the tastiest Scottish desserts to grace any Burns Supper table is Cranachan. Cranachan is basically a Scottish trifle made with toasted oats, honey, raspberries, whisky and whipped cream. Simple to make, but very delicious. Here are traditional cranachan recipes from the Telegraph and BBC Good Food. Jamie Oliver has a modern riff on the traditional cranachan with a raspberry cranchan influenced cakee.
Tag Archives: Scotland
Today is celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns‘ birthday, which means it is time for a Burns Night Supper! Celebrated on or near the Burns’ birthday on January 25th, special feasts known as “Burns Suppers” are a long-standing tradition in Scotland, throughout the UK, and wherever Burns fans are found. The Burns Night feast itself has a formal structure, combing poems, speeches, and special dishes. Haggis, the much maligned official dish of Scotland, sheep’s offal mixed with oatmeal and cooked in an animal stomach (or other casing nowadays) is front and center on the menu – and it even has its own address and bagpipe introduction.
Other traditional Scottish dishes served alongside the haggis include along “neeps” and “tatties” (turnips and potatoes). The complete Burns night itinerary and source materials can be found at the Robert Burns Society, and a sample menu can be found at BBC Good Food. Chowhound has a nice summary of the best way to make haggis in the US, where some of the ingredients are hard to find. Though many supper-throwers adhere closely to the classic dishes, you could also mix things up a little and serve a vegetarian haggis! Of course, no Burns Supper is complete without a singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” Burns’ most famous work, and the official closing of the festivities.
Yesterday we covered an emblematic English dessert, the Bakewell Tart on ETW, so today, the day on which Scotland votes on independence, it seemed only appropriate to feature a Scottish treat. The Ecclefechan butter tart’s name tells much of its story, a buttery pastry from the small Scottish town of Ecclefechan. The pastry is a short crust, filled with dried fruit, butter, sugar and eggs, with the secret ingredient of vinegar. However, their reach goes far beyond Scotland, where they are considered the predecessor for an emblematic Canadian treat, the more simply named butter tart. London Eats has a recipe for Ecclefechan butter tart, a relatively rare treat even in the UK.
We have not given much coverage to Scotland on this blog (well… any coverage), so we think its time they got a little love. Apparently Scotland is quite well known for the fun and over-the-top New Year’s Celebrations, known as Hogmanay. One of the traditions of Hogmanay is “first footing” where you try to be the first person over the threshold of an house, where you then give a gift of food. Sounds good to us! Common foods given are shortbread (in its many varieties) or a fruitcake called “black bun.” Black bun is a little different than the average fruitcake since it is much richer and denser, and is then wrapped in a pastry case. People with lighter tastes may like cranachan, a type of Scottish trifle.
Until about a week ago, Team GB had all but struck-out in the medal department at their home Olympics. Fast forward half a fortnight, and their 16 golds places them third on the overall list, as well as garnering them today’s national dish highlight at ETW – chicken tikka masala. Wikipedia offers this succinct definition: “Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then baked in a tandoor oven, [and] served in a masala (‘mixture of spices’) sauce.” The recipes variations are as wide-ranging as its origin histories, but nothing obscures its popularity. Recently Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, declared chicken tikka masala as the new national dish of the United Kingdom. Today, 1 in 7 of all curries sold in Britain are tikka masala, and it is the most popular restaurant dish in the country. But while tikka masala is unquestionably popular in Britain, and has been declared the national dish, its transnational origins reveal a fascinatingly complex and controversial history.