Hooray, it’s nearly the weekend. Here in Munich it is a blue sky day, bright and sunny and a balmy -3°C! The temperature doesn’t bother me in the least and during these darker months I crave sunshine so I’m soaking up every possible ray. I’m also thinking about breakfast for the weekend, and what could be better for an indulgent weekend brekkie (or Valentine’s Day surprise, if you’re so inclined) than that most wonderful of Austrian creations, Kaiserschmarrn.
Kaiserschmarrn – or literally Emperor’s Mess, if you’ve never heard of it, is a type of pancake – but not just any pancake, first of all it’s made with beaten egg whites which gives it a lovely light texture, then it’s spiked with delicious booze soaked raisins and toasted almonds, before being torn apart and caramelised. A dusting of icing sugar and some fruit compote on the side and you are ready to go – and this is the real kicker, this is served as a main course! Clearly the Germans and Austrians know what they are about when it comes to the art of the pancake.
As the story goes, this was a dish invented for the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, and while he thought it looked a right mess, shouting ‘Was ist denn das für ein Schmarrn?’ (What is this for a load of rubbish?) his quick thinking waiter answered ‘Gestatten, Majestät, das ist ein Kaiserschmarrn!’ (With your permission your Majesty, this is an Emperor’s Mess!’ The Emperor loved it and a legendary dish was born.
Whether the story is true or not, if you have any kind of sweet tooth at all you will love this dish. For anyone with a pancake-flipping-phobia, the good news is that Kaisershmarrn is started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven, taking away all of that stress. Check out the recipe below and dine like an emperor!
Kaiserschmarrn - Emperor's Mess
- 4 Tbsp raisins
- 50 ml rum or orange juice
- 4 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 75 g sugar
- 500 ml milk
- 50 g melted butter
- 250 g flour
- pinch of salt
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 20 g butter, for frying
- 50 g sliced almonds
- 50 g icing sugar
- stewed apple or plums
- In a small bowl soak the raisins in the rum or orange juice (see note 1) and set aside while you prepare the batter and heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks, milk, butter, sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest and vanilla essence.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then carefully fold the egg whites into the batter, trying to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
- Melt the frying butter in a large pan. Pour in the batter, drain the raisins and sprinkle over the mixture and cook over a medium low heat for 5 minutes until the mixture is golden brown underneath.
- When the batter is golden brown underneath, remove from the heat, sprinkle over the almonds and transfer to the hot oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes, watching carefully until the batter is golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven, and using two forks, tear the batter into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle generously with icing sugar, and return the pan to the stove over a medium heat until the sugar caramelises, turning the pieces over so the sugar falls to the bottom, and so that they don’t burn.
- Divide between four plates, dust with icing sugar and serve with stewed apple or plum. Can be eaten warm or room temperature.
- If I know I am going to be making this recipe in advance I always soak the raisins overnight - otherwise you can gently heat them with the rum or orange juice (non-alcoholic version) in a small saucepan for around 2 minutes, cover and set aside for 5 minutes to swell up.
- Kaiserschmarrn is usually served with stewed plums or stewed apple which compliments the pancake beautifully, but fresh fruit, like berries or stone fruit while not traditional is lovely too in the summer months.
- Beating the egg whites just to soft peaks will make the pancake lovely and light without being dry.
TIPS & TRICKS:
Beating the egg whites just to soft peaks will make the pancake lovely and light without being dry.
If I know I am going to be making this recipe in advance I always soak the raisins overnight – otherwise you can gently heat them with the rum or orange juice (non-alcoholic version) in a small saucepan for around 2 minutes, cover and set aside for 5 minutes to swell up.
Kaiserschmarrn is usually served with stewed plums or stewed apple which compliments the pancake beautifully, but fresh fruit, like berries or stone fruit while not traditional is lovely too in the summer months.
Fancy more German sweet treats? How about delicious Buchteln: