This is a local Austrian-German specialty that has become very popular. Let’s look first at some definitions.
The word “Kaiser” means “Emperor” and “Schmarrn” means “Mishmash” in Austrian-German. Nevertheless the translation of Kaiserschmarrn has generated some debate. “Kaiser” is literally translated as “emperor”, but not the word “Schmarrn” that has different definitions such as mishmash, mess, crumbs, a trifle, a nonsense, a fluff. But what is Kaiserschmarrn really?
Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter baked in butter. You can vary it with nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and chopped almonds. The pancake is cut into pieces while frying, shredded after preparation and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar, served hot with apple or plum sauce, or various fruits such as prunes or plums, lingon berries, strawberries or apples. Kaiserschmarrn is actually a dessert, but you can serve it as a main dish as well.
It is generally agreed that the dish was first prepared for the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I (1830–1916). There are several stories: One story involves the Emperor and his wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria, of the House of Wittelsbach. The lady was obsessed with maintaining a minimal waistline, so she directed the royal chef to prepare only light desserts for her, much to the annoyance of her notoriously austere husband. Upon being presented with the chef’s confection, she found it too rich and refused to eat it. The exasperated Francis Joseph quipped, “Now let me see what ‘Schmarrn’ our chef has created.” The emperor used Schmarrn in this sense as “Nonsense” but to his surprise he liked the “Schmarrn” and a new dish was born that became very famous across the whole German-Austrian empire.
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Ingredients (4 servings)
575 ml milk
125 heavy cream
4 eggs (medium size)
1 sachet vanilla sauce – find it here
1 pinch salt
50 g sugar
250 g flour
tiny bit of baking powder (as we say “point of a knife” = Messerspitze)
30 g chopped pistachios
50 g flaked almond (they are cut into very thin slices; find it here
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
1 tbsp powdered sugar
almonds for decoration
Cooking Instructions Kaiserschmarrn
– Mix 200 ml of the milk and heavy cream in a bowl, add vanilla sauce and mix it with a mixer for about 2 minutes, keep it cool.
– Separate eggs; use egg yolks and mix it in a separate bowl with salt, vanilla sugar, sugar and 375 ml milk.
– Mix baking powder with flour and mix it into the egg mix slowly.
– Carefully mix in almonds and pistachios.
– Beat egg white until firm and mix it slowly into the batter.
– Heat 1 tbsp clarified butter in a pan (28 cm diameter).
– Pour in half of the batter and bake it on medium heat until golden.
– Divide it into 4 quarters and turn it with a wide cooking spoon.
– Let it bake to a golden-brown color.
– With a fork mash the pancake in small pieces; keep it warm and bake the remaining batter the same way.
– Dust the pancake with powdered sugar and decorate with almond thins.
– Prepare vanilla sauce per instructions.
Serve the royal dessert hot and with the Vanilla sauce.