Kaiserschmarrn (Emperor’s Mess)

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A shredded pancake traditionally served with Zwetschkenröster (a fruit compote made out of plums) is one of the main pillars of Viennese cuisine. The Emperor Franz Joseph I. liked it very much, that is the reason why it is called „Kaiser-“ (Emperor’s).

There are several stories about the invention of this dish. It is true that the Emperor liked pancakes, but even a professional cook does not always manage to prepare everything perfectly. One day the chef of the court kitchen prepared a very thick pancake and what’s more, it was even shredded. He decided to improve that failed dish with some raisins and sugar. Anyway, he was not satisfied with the result so he covered it with a silver bell and put it aside. A servant came to the kitchen and because he knew that the Emperor was eating very quickly he took the plate with the bell and brought it to the monarch, who looked in surprise at the dish on the plate and asked: „What a Schmarrn (mess) it is?“ The quick-witted servant answerd: „This is an Emperor’s mess!“ And so the name for the new dish was created.

There is also another story. A very similar meal from flour and milk was already known by ordinary people of the Monarchy. The Emperor liked hiking. One day, when a heavy storm caught him in the mountain, he found shelter in a lumberjack’s house. His wife wanted to honour her favourite souvereign and improved their common meal with fine ingredients as eggs and raisins. From an ordinary shredded pancake emerged an emperor’s one. Kaiserschmarrn is indeed a thick pancake which is split with two forks into pieces while frying and sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can add raisins, almonds, sour cherries or nuts. If you want to try an original Kaiserschmarrn you should make a trip to Baden. On the main square you will find the Conditorei Süßes vom Feinsten where its owner Herwig Gasser offers a Kaiserschmarrn Show. He and his assistant will show you how to prepare the dish step by step and even if you do not like raisins like me he will prepare a special portion only for you without raisins!

Kaiserschmarrn

For 1 portion we need: 3 eggs, 100 g flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 l milk, 100 g butter, raisins (before cooking they are soaked in rum)

Method: Mix yolks, flour, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk to a thin dough; whisk the egg-whites until it is stiff and mix it carefully with the dough. Melt the butter in a pan and add the raisins, fry them on low heat. Add the dough and continue to fry on low heat. Cut the pancake in fourth parts, turn them around and then tear it in little pieces and fry through. Serve with powdered sugar and Zwetschkenröster.

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