There are so many stories around this famous Austrian dish that you forget that a Kaiserschmarrn is ultimately just a pancake. Incredibly light, not too sweet, with raisins soaked in a little bit of rum, but still a pancake. And a shredded one at that.
The legends of its origins – and there are many – centre around Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916), who gave the dish the name. How that happened is not recorded, but my favourite version is that the chef who prepared a dessert for the emperor was so nervous that he made a mess of it, leading the emperor to declare that this was a right imperial nonsense, literally a ‘Kaiserschmarrn’. Now, who’s never been in a situation where they were trying to impress somebody by preparing a seemingly simple dish – only for it to go all belly-up. And who wouldn’t appreciate a humorous response, a generous gesture, such as the one my imagined emperor showed towards the chef. Although I do start wondering what Bénédict was trying to achieve with his eggs …
The secret to this wonderful dessert is the light batter as well as the slightly caramelised crust, which is achieved by adding sugar towards the end of the frying process. Traditionally served with steamed plums, it tastes equally delicious with a generous helping of steamed apples. To call it a dessert is perhaps a tad optimistic: we tend to have it as a meal by itself, a Friday dinner, to celebrate the end of the school week. The perfect dish, therefore, to bring to Angie’s, who, at The Novice Gardener, hosts the amazing Fiesta Friday party. It is a fantastic celebration of dishes and ideas by a wide range of bloggers – I just can’t get over the fact that my Sauerkraut Dumplings were featured last week – thank you so much, Selma and Elaine, for your hard work!
This week it is hosted by Prudy (of Butter, Basil and Breadcumbs fame) and Naina (the brains (and tastebuds) behind Spice in the City), and I am really looking forward to the buffet – as well as the company 🙂 !
Kaiserschmarrn (serves 3-4)
- 5 eggs
- 200g plain flour
- 250-300 ml milk
- 30g granulated sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbs raisins, soaked in a little rum
- generous knob of butter to fry (3-4 tbs?)
- icing sugar
Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until firm. In a second bowl, mix the egg yolks with the flour, salt, milk and half of the sugar’ keep at it until all the lumps have disappeared. Adjust the milk in necessary, some flours seem to require more liquid. Your batter should be the consistency of single cream. Add the raisins (or don’t, depending on your attitude towards them) and fold in the egg white.
In a heavy frying pan, melt the butter. When it starts bubbling, pour in your batter and fry the pancake until it is golden brown on both sides.
Now comes the fun bit: using forks or plastic spatulas, tear the pancake into smaller bits; add the remaining granulated sugar and keep stirring until the sugar begins to caramelise.
Sprinkle icing sugar over the Schmarrn before serving; steamed plums or apples go particularly well with it, as their tartness complements the caramelised sweetness of the pancake.
Happy Fiesta Friday!