Last night, the 25th of January, was Burns Night. Scotland’s big night, where friends and families come together to celebrate the life and works of the poet Robert Burns over steaming plates of haggis and lots of whiskey. Despite having next to no Scottish connections, we celebrated with some terrible Scottish accents, and our best attempts to make sense of the poems. Any excuse for lots of good food and drink! 11 of us crammed in around our little table, squeezed in on borrowed chairs, eating off borrowed plates with a mis-mash of borrowed cutlery.
Staying true to tradition, we piped in the haggis (well, put some bagpipes on youtube while I carried in burning hot dish in my chicken print oven gloves…) and read the address. Becca took on the honoured task, and read the poem beautifully as I knew she would, bringing her knife down to stab the haggis at the required moment.
His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Haggis well and truly welcomed to the table, we tucked in on a feast of tatties (Hong Kong doesn’t seem to have any neeps), roasted veg, this vegetarian haggis, and lots of gravy.
This Raspberry Cranachan Cheesecake was one of the puddings we had to finish the meal. Cranachan is a Scottish treat, made from oats and whiskey, a sort of Scottish eton mess. This cheesecake is a wonderful spin on the recipe. It’s got a creamy filling, rich with the warm, hearty taste of toasted oats. The raspberries are fresh and tangy and look so pretty sat like jewels in the top of the cheesecake.
The original recipe calls for oatcakes in the base, but these are impossible to find in Hong Kong. I’ve substituted them for an old faithful digestive base, with a few oats added in for the oatey feel. Otherwise I haven’t done much to adapt the recipe, except scale down the quantities of cheese and eggs a little.
Serve with more fresh raspberries, lots of cream, and a wee dram of whiskey on the side.
Raspberry Cranachan Cheesecake
(adapted from Paul Hollywood)
for the base
200g digestive biscuits
50g oats (I just used the porridge oats I had in the house)
125g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
for the filling
90g caster sugar
250g full fat cream cheese
3 medium eggs
Grease and line a 20cm springform/loose bottom tin.
Start by making the base. In a food processor, pulse your digestive biscuits together until finely ground. Alternativly put your biscuits in a plastic ziploc bag and bash them with a rolling pin until you have a fine rubble. Stir in the oats.
Melt the butter and honey together. Combine with the digestive and oat mixture. Mix together until the biscuits are well coated.
Press firmly into your tin. Put into the refrigerator for 1 hour to set.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Next, make the filling.
Put the oats and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small frying pan and toast over a low heat, string regularly, until toasted and golden. Put on a plate to cool.
Add the ricotta, cream cheese, eggs and remaining sugar into a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Alternatively, use a hand mixer.
Pour over your set base.
Drop the raspberries on top.
Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes. The cheesecake should be set around the edges, but still have a little bit of wobble in the middle.
Turn the heat off in the oven, and open the door a little. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven as the oven cools.
Serve with more fresh raspberries and lots of cream.