Celebrate Mary Berry Highland Christmas with this Cranachan Pavlova recipe

Christmas Cranachan from Mary Berry Highland Christmas, photo provided by PBS
Christmas Cranachan from Mary Berry Highland Christmas, photo provided by PBS /

After the success of her first holiday special, the new Mary Berry Highland Christmas returns to PBS on December 18. With several special guests making the trek to Scotland, Dame Mary Berry highlights her Scottish heritage and weaves some other flavors into a delectable holiday feast.

For the new PBS holiday special, Berry celebrates her Scottish heritage. While many people might appreciate British holiday traditions, the Highlands have various food recipes that might not be quite as well-known. These special treats could become a new tradition in many people’s households.

Joining Berry in this holiday celebration are several other Scottish friends including Andy Murray, Iain Stirling, and Emeli Sandé. Throughout the PBS special, Berry and friends discuss holiday memories and how food brings people together. While Murray might smash wins on the grass courts, he fondly recalls how his grandmother cooked classic breakfast dish Kedgeree.

While there are many references to classic Scottish fare, Berry has found ways to innovate some of those traditional recipes. Although each of the dishes has a feeling of cozy, rustic appeal, they never lose sight of the real meaning of the holiday, bringing people around the table.

One dish, the Christmas Cranachan Pavlova recipe blends two ideas. First, a Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert. Usually made with oats, fruit, and cream, the dessert is often served layered, like a trifle. It is relatively simple to make yet looks impressive on the plate. And, for whiskey lovers, a little pour of that spirit can flavor the dessert, too.

In this Christmas Cranachan Pavlova recipe, Berry brings together a popular Australian dessert, the pavlova, with the Scottish Cranachan. Although slightly more technically advanced, it captures all the flavors of the two desserts. Plus, a glass of Scottish whiskey on the side might be a delightful way to end a holiday meal.

Christmas Cranachan from Mary Berry Highland Christmas
Christmas Cranachan from Mary Berry Highland Christmas, photo provided by PBS /

Here’s how to make Christmas Cranachan Pavlova recipe from Mary Berry Highland Christmas.

Christmas Cranachan Pavlova Wreath (US VERSION)

Serves 8-10


For the pavlova

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 ¾ cups caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 7/8 cup of porridge or old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 2 ½ cups of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp Scotch whisky
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Sprigs of rosemary, to decorate
  • Powdered sugar, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 325F/160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a12in/30cm circle in the middle of the paper. Draw a 6in/15cm circle in the centre of the larger circle to make a ring.
  • Put the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until light. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking on maximum speed until they are stiff and glossy. Mix the vinegar and corn flour in a cup until smooth, then stir into the egg whites.
  • Spoon the meringue onto the ring drawn on the baking parchment. Using a large spoon, make a shallow trench in the meringue for the cream and fruit to sit in.
  • Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to275F/140C/120C Fan/Gas1. Bake for 1hour-1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is hard but still white. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the muscovado sugar and oats and fry over a medium heat until the oats are lightly golden brown and the sugar has melted and coated the oats. Leave to cool.
  • To assemble, whip the cream until soft peaks and stir in the whisky. Stir in2/3 of the oats and half the raspberries. Spoon the cream into the trench in the meringue. Arrange the remaining raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate seeds on top and decorate with a few rosemary sprigs, to look like small Christmas trees. Sprinkle with the remaining oats. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges.

Looking for more Scottish inspired holiday recipes and ideas? Be sure to watch Mary Berry Highland Christmas on PBS December 18 at 9 p.m. ET or stream on PBS.org or the PBS app.

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