Here’s how to prepare Kaiserschmarrn, an Austrian dessert pancake
My friend and I once crashed a wedding reception in Germany for Kaiserschmarrn.
The Austrian dessert, also popular in Bavaria and Hungary, consists of fluffy, grated pancakes. It is often served in a saucepan, sprinkled with powdered sugar and sprinkled with raisins, sometimes sliced almonds and fruit. An accompaniment of compote, usually plum, apple or lingonberry, accompanies the dish.
Kaiserschmarrn comes from the German words “Kaiser”, referring to Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I who was apparently a fan of the dish, and “Schmarren”, a scrambled or grated dish. The dessert is large enough to have its own designation tent, which looks like a giant gingerbread castle, at Oktoberfest in Germany.
The wedding reception we crashed into was several years ago in Bamberger Haus, a restaurant and beer garden in a park in Munich, less than 100 km from the Austrian border. I was there for the move of friends and the waiter told us that they had run out of ingredients for Kaiserschmarrn because the restaurant used everything for a wedding party.
Instead of accepting this spell, I persuaded a friend to be my Vince Vaughn’s Owen Wilson in this softer version of “Wedding Crashers”. This is how I came face to face with the bride, who gave us her blessing and waved at the most massive Kaiserschmarrn pan I have ever seen in my life.
It was the size of a children’s pool. We loaded a few plates and ran away.
It wasn’t the first time that I had outdone myself for Kaiserschmarrn, and it sure won’t be the last.
On another occasion my friends and I wandered the damp streets at night trying to remember the brewery near the station where we had a pleasantly caramelized nutty Kaiserschmarrn.
I once hopped solo on a train heading south to Mayerhofen, a ski resort in the Austrian province of Tyrol. After hitting the slopes I got lost on a snowy quest to find someone’s recommendation for the best Kaiserschmarrn in town. I blame the Schnapps après-ski for confusing my sense of direction.
Finally, a friend, whose family owned a longtime Vietnamese restaurant in Munich, made me Kaiserschmarrn in his home kitchen because what better start from the city I love than with one of my favorite culinary discoveries. the low ?
What I mean is I’m willing to go a long way for Kaiserschmarrn and luckily my friends probably would too.
This isolating pandemic has made me nostalgic for comfort foods from my past, which relate to the people who made them comfort food. I long for a perfect winter day with my friends and a hike in the snow to a hut in the Bavarian Alps, where we warm ourselves with cups of Glühwein, savory bowls of Pfannkuchensuppe and, of course, a pot of Kaiserschmarrn.
Instead, in December I learned to do Kaiserschmarrn for the first time. I sent a photo to each friend mentioned above, with the message that I will do it for them in person someday.
Recipe: How to make Kaiserschmarrn
This is an adaptation of several recipes as well as my own judgment, which is hit and miss in the kitchen, but elaborate this time around.
Although you can prepare it using just the stove top, my friend in Germany says that part baking in the oven is what gives the pancake its chewiness.
I also deviated from the tradition based on my personal preferences (using dried blueberries instead of raisins) and whatever I had in the pantry. Since I didn’t have any vanilla pods, I made vanilla sugar by mixing half a cup of cane sugar with a tablespoon of vanilla extract. I also didn’t have sliced almonds to toast, so I toasted crushed walnuts from leftover banana nut bread.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 3 tbsp. vanilla sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp. melted butter, plus 1 tsp. to caramelize (optional)
- Raisins or blueberries
- Sliced toasted almonds or crushed walnuts
- Applesauce or compote (I suggest plum, apple or cranberry)
- Granulated sugar
- A little more butter to grease the pan
- A little sugar to caramelize (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
Mix the flour and milk. In a separate container, combine the egg yolks, vanilla sugar, salt and melted butter. Gradually pour the flour and the milk paste into the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go.
In a separate container, whisk the egg whites until you can overturn the bowl and the foam does not slip. (It took me about five minutes with a hand held electric mixer, starting with a low speed setting and ending with a higher speed setting).
Gently fold the mousse into the dough using a spatula. Don’t mix too much, you should be able to see a few small bubbles in the dough.
Grease the bottom and sides of an ovenproof nonstick skillet and heat on a stovetop over medium heat. Pour the dough into the mold and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then place the pan in the oven and bake for about 7-8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and use a spatula to cut the pancake into quarters. Turn the quarters over so the toasted side is facing up. Return the pancake to the oven and continue baking for 2-3 minutes.
If you want to caramelize, the next part moves pretty quickly. Turn the stove on to high heat and move the pan from the oven to the stove. Immediately grate the pancake with a spatula into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with a tablespoon of melted butter and sugar, gently scrambling the pieces.
Remove from the heat and serve, unless you are serving in a skillet. Sprinkle powdered sugar, dried blueberries and toasted walnut crumble on top.
Serve hot with a side of applesauce.
Subscribe to azcentral.com today to support local journalism.