Try this warming haggis-spiced crème brûlée for the ultimate Burns Night celebration

Burns Night is here, and we’ve got the best way to celebrate the occasion: food. But why stick with the classic haggis, neeps and tatties when you could think a bit outside of the box?

Burns Night (25 January), the annual celebration of iconic Scottish poet Robert Burns, is here, and what better way to mark the occasion than by eating something delicious? 

Sure, you could go classic – we’re talking haggis, neeps and tatties or clootie dumplings – but what about getting a little creative? If you’re ready to step outside the box, we’ve got you covered, with a recipe for a twist on the traditional. 

Behold: haggis-spiced crème brûlée. Don’t panic – this dessert doesn’t have actual haggis in it. Instead, it’s a tasty crème brûlée spiced with the flavours that you’d usually find in the traditional Scottish dish, along with a good slug of whisky. 

“For me, the true spices of haggis are coriander seeds, mace, nutmeg and black pepper,” says Scott Davies, head chef at The Three Chimneys in Skye. “These flavours naturally work well with cream, caramel, whisky and apple. The spices really make this dessert sing, giving depth of flavour and a warming spice – perfect for this time of year.”

And to go along with it, we’ve got Atholl Brose – a Scottish liqueur usually drunk at Hogmanay – flavoured ice cream. Yum. 

Sounds good to us. So, how do you make this tasty pudding?

Haggis-spiced crème brûlée with Atholl Brose ice cream

Serves: 8 people


Haggis-spiced crème brûlée ingredients:

500ml double cream

3.5g cracked black pepper

5g toasted coriander seeds, crushed

Pinch of nutmeg and mace 

Pinch of thyme

1 bay leaf

100g egg yolk

1 egg

2g Isle of Skye sea salt

100g golden caster sugar (plus 4 tsp for topping)

Apple puree ingredients:

1 large bramley apple (peeled, cored and roughly chopped, approx 250g apple)

50g unsalted butter

20ml lemon juice

50g caster sugar

50ml apple juice  

Atholl Brose ice cream ingredients:

45g oats

300ml whole milk

300ml double cream

½ vanilla pod split, pod and seeds separated

3 large free-range egg yolks

75g heather honey

30ml Talisker 10-year-old whisky

Oat crumble ingredients:

100g malt brown flour

Pinch of salt 

50g butter

50g dark brown sugar

25g rolled oats

25g pinhead oats

Optional garnish:

1 granny smith apple, sliced into sticks

1 cox apple, cubed

Common sorrel 


Method for the haggis-spiced crème brûlée:

  1. Place the cream in a pan on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the spices, thyme and bay leaf then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
  2. While the cream is infusing, line 5cm by 5cm metal rings with cling film and place on a damp J Cloth on a flat, heavy based tray. Preheat the oven to 90°C fan.
  3. Whisk together the yolks, egg, salt and sugar and put the cream back on the heat until boiling. Then pass over the egg mixture, whisk and leave to settle for 5 minutes
  4. Remove any foam and pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Split between the moulds and bake for 45 minutes until just set. Leave to cool and then refrigerate.
  5. To serve, remove the cling film from the bottom and turn this side up. Sprinkle over the extra sugar and blow torch the outside until the cream falls.
  6. Remove the ring and blow torch the sugar until it turns a dark caramel. If you don’t have a blow torch, finish under a very hot grill. 

Method for the apple puree:

  1. Place all of the ingredients together in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the apple is softened and pureed.
  2. Pass through a fine sieve and check the seasoning then place in a squeeze bottle or piping bag and leave to cool until serving. 

Method for the ice cream:

  1. Place the oats in a bowl and pour over the milk. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, strain the milk off the oats and re-weigh the milk back up to 300ml, then discard the oats (use for your morning porridge).
  3. Add to a saucepan the milk, cream and vanilla pod. Bring slowly to the simmer.
  4. Whisk together the vanilla seeds, yolks and honey, until thick and pale. Pass over the hot milk, whisk together and then pour back into a clean pan.
  5. Cook over a medium heat until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pass through a fine sieve, leave to cool, then churn in an ice cream machine and freeze. 

Method for the oat crumble

  1. Rub together the flour, salt and butter, until it forms breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix in the sugar and oats, then place on a baking tray in the oven at 170°C fan for 25 minutes.
  3. Stir the mixture a couple of times while cooking until it becomes golden brown. Leave to cool. 

Main image: courtesy of The Three Chimneys

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