Hommage to Scotland

Latvia and Scotland have more in common than one at first might think. They both produce porridge oats, they produce wonderful dairy products, they grow scrumptious berries and they both produce very drinkable spirits. As everyone knows Scotland produces fantastic whisky, however not many people know that Latvia produces a lovely invigorating tipple known as Rigas Black Balsam.

I have pondered over the last few months what to do with my harvest of blackcurrants. At the moment they are just sat in my freezer waiting for me to be creative. It occurred to me that I could pay homnage to the Scottish dessert known as Cranachan. This a simple but delicious dessert comprising of raspberries, whisky, porridge oats and cream. My version replaces the raspberries with blackcurrants (didn’t grow any raspberries this year) and the whisky with Rigas Black Balsam. The great thing about this dessert is that it needs virtually no cooking and everything can be prepared in advance and put together just before serving.

So here goes:



  • Blackcurrants and blackcurrant leaves if you have some
  • Rigas Black Balsam
  • Double Cream(UK) or 35% Fat cream (Latvia)
  • large porridge oats
  • sugar
  • vanilla essence (optional)


  1. At least 24 hrs before the dessert is needed remove stalks and wash the blackcurrants. Place in a bowl with the blackcurrant leaves and sprinkle with sugar. I suggest not to much at this stage as more can be added later if required. Pour over some Balsam. Again not too much as more can be added later. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge. What we are trying to do hear is to create a syrup. Too little sugar and balsam not enough syrup, too much and you may have a syrup that just tastes of balsam. Give a good shake to nake sure the sugar is mixed in the balsam so it will dissolve. The blackcurrant leaves contain the blackcurrant oil which has lots of flavour.IMG_1577
  2. A few hours before serving taste the syrup. Add more sugar and balsam if required.
  3. In advance grill or dry pan fry your porridge oats until they turn a golden brown.IMG_1575
  4. Whip your cream to soft peaks adding a little sugar and vanilla essence if required.IMG_1576
  5. You are now ready to assemble your Cranachan. In a glass put a layer of whipped cream, followed by some blackcurrants and syrup, then a layer of the roasted oats. Repeat these layers once more and finally add another layer of cream and garnish with a few blackcurrant and a light sprinkling of oats. Serve immediately and enjoy.

IMG_1579  IMG_1580  IMG_1584

Remember you are going to eat this so adapt to your taste. As you can see I have added redcurrants. You could add any berries you have. You could also add pieces of crispy meringue to change the texture. Happy experimenting.

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12 Responses to Hommage to Scotland

  1. vinebob says:

    Are you using the normal black balsam or the Blackcurrant version? I like a slug of the blackcurrant stuff overtime i have a sniffle, seems to work wonders.


    • aedoxsey says:

      I used the normal one, but feel free to use what you like. Just adjust sugar content. My family back in the UK prefer the blackcurrant version. The original is a bit of an acquired taste.


  2. Steve says:

    ……and don’t drive after eating it!


  3. Ilze Murphy says:

    I do like Cranachan. So far I have tried only Scottish version with berries and some apricots. Yammy!


  4. Linda says:

    Hmm.. I think I understand you more than most of the people.. quite funny story actually relating to your wonderful article.
    Me ex – boyfriend (latvain) is in relationships with scotish girl which I would not understand but now I do(because he was never considering dating person from another nation and had some strong values) because we do share similar values as u say. 🙂
    Anyway keep up the good work as I am loving your blog silently as latvian in UK… 😊


  5. Melnais kaķis says:

    Excellent idea. I made some marmalade this year with a splash of Rīga Black Balsam instead of whisky – went down very well with friends and family 🙂


  6. Santa says:

    Hello there!
    Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog, it’s quite a finding to be honest. I am a latvian/russian girl from Riga, studying in Scotland, and one of my biggest interests is exploring different cultures, mentalities. One thing that always seemed interesting was foreigners who move to Latvia. While we have about 20% of population lost due to everyone’s desire to move abroad, it’s always very nice to meet people who actually preferred our country over complainingly prosperous Britain. I wholeheartedly hope you enjoy it here, and pluses of living in LV are in majority, rather than all the negative sides. Take care! x


  7. Simon Rediss-Whitfield says:

    Hi aedoxsey,

    We are looking at moving to Latvia (Baldones to be exact) and wouldnt mind picking your brains about a few things.


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