Scottish Flummery Chocolate and Orange Gluten-free Shotglass Recipe

Flummery is not only the favourite retort of Rex Stout's epicurean detective, Nero Wolfe but it is also a most delicious festive dessert. Its beginnings however, were far from gourmet, as it started life as a lowly gruel cum porridge,  made from the fermented soakings and rinsings of various cultivated cereals. To be exact, the inner husks. In Scotland flummery was made from oat husks and 'sowans' or as it was called in the gaellic, sùghan was a drink or dish laced, on festive occasions with usquebaugh, the water of life. In fact this culinary speciality was so engrained within Scottish Tradition that in Aberdeen and surrounding areas the 24th of December was known as 'Sowans Nicht'.

Scottish Flummery Gluten-free Organic Shotglass Recipe

As time went by this essential food of the poor and/or 'diet drink for the sick' was enriched with cream and alcohol to become a suitable addition to the Georgian Christmas board. For, with the inclusion in the recipe of hartshorn jelly and ground rice, flummery became stiff enough to be moulded. In the 18th Century Josiah Wedgwood's potteries had perfected the making of china dessert moulds. This was then the apogée of flummery as a festive centrepiece, one of the most famous of these being, 'Temple Flummery', a sweet re-creation of Solomon's Temple. Below is the recipe for the latter and a picture of the equally amazing 'Eggs and Bacon Flummery' from The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald, published in 1782.

However, to me both these were eclipsed by the astounding 'Gilded Fish Pond', in which the flummery was covered with a layer of real gold leaf! This makes my simple tinted flummery, with mocha and marmalade in a shotglass, pretty tame!

You can of course use shop-bought marmalade for this recipe. It is, however, quite simple just to make up a quick batch from a few citrus fruits and their rinds. If you are outside the (very short) season for bitter oranges, then you may just need to use more lemon juice and less sugar to get that fine aigre-doux balance. This is a dessert that suffers, just as marmalade itself does,  if you overdo the sweetness. I will put a link to my marmalade recipe and that for chocolate orange peels, which I use as a decoration, at the bottom of the page.

Scottish Flummery Organic Gluten-free Shotglass Recipe

Here again, as this is a gluten-free recipe, I'm using rum instead of whisky. As previously discussed, the latter can contain added malt. I've even made this dessert with a fruit syrup/liqueur and that was good too! I am also using actual oats rather than the 'rinsings', so my flummery has texture and bite.


(makes 18 - 20 dependent on the size of shot glass)

The live golden coloured links below will take you to certified organic, gluten-free ingredients.

300ml or ½ a pint of raw crème fraîche épaisse*, whipping or thick cream plus a little extra for decoration.

75g (3oz) toasted rolled, pinhead or steel cut gluten-free oats (here I've used rolled)

1 tablespoon of raw honey rapadura or raw cane sugar

2 tablespoons of rum

2 tablespoons of Seville marmalade

1 tablespoon of freshly brewed coffee

4 squares of  dark confectionery chocolate

For decorating - extra marmalade, chocolate dipped candied orange peels, cream and cocoa.

organic syllabub
cream separator 1930's
*This is cream which has been left to stand and cool after full cream milk, such as A2 raw Normandy, has been run through a separator. I know this because some years ago I got up at, what was to me, the crack of dawn to go and film the process at our local organic farm. I'll link the article below for those interested.

METHOD - Making Basic Flummery

Cranachan Organic and Gluten-free recipe

In a frying pan and with quite a high heat, toast the oats until they smell nutty (a few minutes) move them around the pan so they get an even toasting. Leave to cool.

If you are using a thin crème fraîche then you will need to whip this up prior to incorporating the rest of the ingredients. You can over-beat cream so I usually beat it until it forms something that looks like the leaves of a book. However, for the last five years I have been able to get my cream directly from the separator - raw and organic and so thick a spoon will stand up in it.

Cream Crowdie Cranachan Gluten-free Organic Recipe

Whip up the cream and stir in the honey/sugar and oats. If you inadvertently stir in the oats in whilst they are still warm don't worry just whisk the whole lot up together and everything will be fine.

METHOD - Flavouring the Flummery

Start by dividing the mixture into two.

Into one half of the the basic flummery add one tablespoon of marmalade and the same measure of rum and mix well.

Whisk the mixture together until stiff.

Scottish Flummery Organic Gluten-free Shotglass Recipe
You should end up with something that looks thick and textured. I used a dark marmalade,  one I had made with raw cane sugar.

For the other half of the basic flummery, melt the four squares of chocolate in a heat proof bowl or jug in or over a pan of hot water. When melted stir in the coffee and a tablespoon of rum. Add this to the flummery and whisk well,

Scottish Flummery Organic Gluten-free Shotglass Recipe

Scottish Flummery Organic Gluten-free Shotglass Recipe
Making this sweet a day in advance is no problem, in fact flummery in my opinion gets even creamier and tastier if it is allowed to rest overnight. You can then assemble the dessert on the day of the party.

Add a layer of pure marmalade to the bottom of each shot glass and then add alternate layers of cream and the two flavours of flumery. Decorate the top with some more cream and a sprinkle of cocoa and some curls of dark chocolate. I also use home-made chocolate dipped candied peels to finish this dish.

If you are lucky enough to own a jelly or blancmange mould, then feel free to use that, happy in the knowledge that you are recreating a piece of culinary history.


Hope to see you again for anothr recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie.

All that needs to be said now is Bon Appėtit!

All the best,


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©  Sue Cross 2017 

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