Kaiserschmarrn Recipe – How to Make the Kaiser’s Favorite Dessert
I’m fairly certain that the first Kaiserschmarrn happened when an Austrian or German mother was making Eierkuchen (German Pancakes) in a hurry, flipped it wrong, tried to fix it, and ended up just making scrambled pancake. (Can’t you hear the conversation, “Mama, what’s this?” “It’s good, EAT IT!!”) Things improved from those early mistakes. The Kaiserschmarrn Recipe was adjusted and made even more delicious…. lighter... (but still, in my head, a scrambled pancake). The adjustments may have added an extra step (whipping egg whites), but the scrambled part means that any “oopsies” are easily covered up. Especially when you serve the Kaiserschmarrn covered in Powdered Sugar with a side of Fruit Compote.
One bite… and everyone agrees, these are exactly the sort of culinary mishaps that we need more of.
What ARE Kaiserschmarrn?
Kaiserschmarrn starts out as a light and fluffy pancake, thicker than a regular German Eierkuchen, but not made with Baking Powder like American Pancakes. They get their fluffiness from whipped Egg Whites. And then…. they get shredded. The word “schmarrn” comes from the Austrian or Bavarian dialect and means scrambled (also mess, rubbish or mishmash). Which completely makes sense. This is not a “pretty” dish on the plate.
But why Kaiser?
The Kaiserschmarrn Recipe was named for Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. The Kaiser apparently had quite the sweet tooth! There are a few stories about the origins of the dessert (mostly about mistakes in the kitchen), but in the end… it became his favorite dish, and he frequently requested it as a meal or dessert.
You will find Kaiserschmarrn on menus in Bavaria and Austria (thanks to my parent’s Austrian friend Traudel for introducing me to it!). And it’s quite popular at Oktoberfest. Generally it’s served with a fruit compote, although the Kaiser preferred Raspberry Jam, and topped with sugar or powdered sugar.
I served mine with a compote made from Plums and Figs (it’s what I had in the fruit bowl). You will find general instructions for a simple compote below.
- 1 1/2 cup Flour
- 4 Eggs - SEPARATED
- pinch Salt
- 1 cup Milk
- few teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cranberries or raisins optional (You can soak the raisins or cranberries in rum/juice/water for 15-30 minutes to soften them up)
- Powdered Sugar or Sugar to serve
- Oil for cooking
- Separate Eggs
- Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak... set aside
- Get out a medium sized bowl.
- Add the Flour, and make a depression in the flour.
- Pour the egg yolks into the depression.
- Use a whisk, and slowly start combining the eggs with the flour while pouring the milk over the yolks.
- Add salt
- Continue whisking until smooth
- Add lemon juice
- Whisk until smooth.
- Carefully fold in the beaten Egg White. (Folding is where you add a bit of the egg white, then with a spatula pull the egg white under the flour/milk mixture. Keep adding more egg white. You don't want to smash out all the air, but carefully scrape under and over until it's incorporated).
- Add the Raisins or Cranberries if desired.
- Heat a few Tablespoons of oil larger Frying pan over medium heat.
- When it shimmers a bit, pour the batter into the pan.
- It will be about 1/2 inch thick (more or less)
- Let it cook until it starts to brown a bit on the bottom. (Bubbles may come up on top, but peek under from time to time, so you don't burn it)
- With a pair of forks (this is tradition, and semi-important) Divide the pancake, and sort of scramble it. You could try flipping sections of it.
- Just keep moving it around until it's all cooked.
- Put into a serving bowl or on plates.
- Sprinkle with Sugar or Powdered Sugar GENEROUSLY
- Serve warm with Jam or Compote.
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Step by Step Kaiserschmarrn Recipe
Begin by Whipping the Egg Whites
Place Flour and Egg Yolks in a bowl, with the yolks in a depression
Add sugar if desired at this time
Mix the yolks and flour slowly while adding the milk (yes, you need both hands)
Whisk until it’s smooth
fold in the egg white
Until it’s fairly smooth
Add Cranberries or Raisins if Wanted
Pour batter into an oiled frying pan… will be about 1/2 inch thick (eyeball it, don’t get a ruler)
peek to see when it browns on the bottom
Use two forks to divide the pancake up and mix it around
When it’s no longer batter…put into a bowl… sprinkle with sugar or powdered sugar
Serve with Jam or Compote
How to make a simple Fruit Compote
Serve with Kaiserschmarrn, Pancakes, Ice Cream, Yogurt… whatever. It stores for a few days in the refrigerator.
A compote is a nice way to have fruit for dessert, or to add some fruit to a different dish.
Cut up fruit (or trim the fruit) Toss out stems and pits.I had some plums that had seen better days, and a few leftover figs… but you can use berries, stone fruit or apples. (Bananas won’t work)
Add some water, sugar and cinnamon. A squeeze of lemon juice is nice if you have it.(about 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon)
Cook over low heat until it looks like this(or a bit longer)…. taste from time to time. Maybe you need more sugar? Maybe a bit more cinnamon?