Besides being home to scenic landscapes and rich culture, Scotland also offers lip-smacking food, particularly delectable desserts. Oatmeal, raspberries, and dried fruits like raisins and currants dominate their platter. The additional flavor of Whiskey in some like Tipsy Laird and Cranachan elevates the taste to another level. They are somewhat similar in appearance and taste to European sweet treats like cakes, trifles, and shortbreads. Flavorful and buttery, these sweet delights are a huge hit mainly during special occasions like Christmas, Burns Night, celebrating life and poetry of Robert Burns, and the Scottish New Year’sYear’s Eve, Hogmanay.
This classic Scottish dessert is similar to the traditional English trifle but more flavorful as Whiskey replaces the sherry mainly added in trifles. The soft and spongy cake forms its base and has a rich layer of raspberry jam, thick custard, and fresh raspberries. Toppings of whipped cream and roasted almonds further enhance its taste. Light yet flavorful, this sweet delight is typically served during Burns Night or Hogmanay.
This traditional dessert is an easy-to-make recipe with oats, cream, honey, malt whiskey, and raspberries being a part of its preparation. Like a trifle, all of these are elegantly layered in a bowl or dessert glass. Other versions also exist, with Scottish Whiskey substituted for Malt Whiskey and the flavor transitioning from sweet to smokey. Also known as ”the king of Scottish dessert,” Scots typically prepared it during the celebration of the raspberry harvest in June. Having them on special occasions, including Christmas, Hogmanay, and Burns Night, is also common at present.
Clootie or Clootie dumpling has dried fruit, bread crumbs or oatmeal, spices, flour, and shredded suet as its primary component. It gets its name from its preparation process as all the ingredients are simmered in a clootie or cloth for long hours. This cake is rich and flavorful with spices and dried fruit, perfect for birthdays, holidays like Burn Days or Hogmanay, or Daft Days, a Scottish winter solstice celebration. Something unique or symbolic was hidden inside the dough in the previous times, like a coin to symbolize wealth or a ring to signify marriage, a horseshoe for good luck, and a button for bachelorhood.
Deep-fried Mars Bar is a famous Scottish sweet treat that originated at a well-known fish and chip shop, Carron fish bar, in 1992. The same flour batter and oil used for the fish and chips went into preparing the chocolate bar. It is now commonly found in chip shops within the country and worldwide.
Petticoat Tails are classical shortbread variations that get the unusual name due to their triangle-like shape, similar to the pretty frilly petticoats. The original dessert mainly had three ingredients, flour, butter, and caster sugar. Traditionally, baking a whole round cake was prevalent before slicing it. However, the present-day petticoat tails go into the baking tray after being cut into pieces. A favorite of the 16th century Mary, Queen of Scots, these sugary treats have a crumbly texture and a sweet, buttery taste.
A favorite tea-time accompaniment, these tasty oat-biscuits are made by incorporating flour, eggs, butter, caster sugar, oatmeal, and vanilla extract. After shaping the dough into balls, they are rolled over oatmeal and slightly flattened. Before baking, a glacé cherry or other candied fruit is lightly pressed on top for an enticing look.
Once popped into the mouth, these cookies immediately melt away, leaving a buttery and vanilla aftertaste, and hence earns the name.
This rich fruitcake, also known as Scotch Bun, is an essential Christmas delight, traditionally eaten to commemorate the Twelfth Night. However, Scots also enjoy it during Hogmanay in the present times. Though it has undergone many changes over the past years, the original version included raisins, currants, almonds, ginger, citrus peel, allspice, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Wrapped in pastry, this sweet and spicy treat is indeed delicious with occasional bites of dried fruit. Modern versions are often brushed with black treacle.
Tablet, a sugary fudge-like dessert, typically consists of butter, condensed milk, and caster sugar. A common find in Scottish bakeries and shops, several versions are now available, having additional flavors of Whiskey or vanilla. Its crumbly texture with lots of butter instantly melts inside the mouth, making it an ideal choice for serving guests during any Scottish holiday after a heavy meal.
This Scottish dessert also goes by the name of Millionaire’sMillionaire’s Shortbread. The different textures – buttery and crumbly shortcake at the base, gooey caramel in the middle, and a crispy chocolate layer on top make it appealing. Adding unrefined sea salt to the sweet caramel enhances its creamy, rich taste further. They’re sliced into squares or rectangles, giving a heavenly feel as you chew and relish the chocolaty layer.
Scottish shortbread is crumbly in texture made with flour, sugar, and a big dollop of butter. Traditionally, it has a round and flat shape with holes poked all over, though they also exist in rectangular slices. Once baked, topping it with caster sugar adds to the extra crunch and sweetness. These cookie treats were originally prepared using leftover dough dried in the oven to get a crisp texture like a rusk.
Dundee Cake, a simpler form of the Christmas plum cake, gets its name from its place of origin, Dundee in Scotland. The traditional Dundee cake has common ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, and salt. In addition, raisins, almonds, sultanas, orange zest, and Seville marmalade also go into its preparation, making it rich and flavorful. Many modern versions also have Whiskey and candied fruits. The moist cake is aromatic when baked and delicious, and fulfilling to eat. The orange marmalade’s sweet and slightly bitter taste gives the cake a unique flavor. It is best to have them at room temperature, accompanied by a hot beverage. Though mainly eaten during Christmas and other special occasions, it also makes an ideal teatime accompaniment.
Ecclefechan Tart resembles a pecan pie in texture but contains additional flavors of cinnamon and lemon peel. Toppings of nuts like almonds or walnuts also go into the mixture, making it rich and crunchy. Named after a South Scottish town, Ecclefechan, Scots find them enjoyable mainly during Christmas and Burns Nights with a cup of coffee or tea.
Though a popular dessert in Scotland, it is often argued whether it belongs to the Scottish or the English. Unlike its origin, it is a mouth-watering sweet treat having dates, flour, sugar, and butter as its main ingredient. A vanilla-scented sweet sauce is poured on it, adding to its moistness and sweetness. Accompaniments of whipped cream or ice cream are a pure delight.
These sweet treats with added dried fruits and whisky have diverse textures and are delicious to taste. While some have British or other European countries’ influence, others are authentic and have unique tastes. Apart from these popular desserts, the sugary confectionery items in different colors and flavors are also a huge hit. Some worth mentioning are Edinburgh Rock, Granny Sookers, and Jethart Snails.
Best Scottish Christmas Desserts: Cranachan, Tipsy Laird, Dundee Cake
Traditional Scottish Desserts: Cranachan, Clootie Dumpling, Scottish shortbread
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