Kaiserschmarrn and other Austrian desserts

The most legendary of all Austrian desserts: Kaiserschmarrn is something like a torn omelette. Its origin, in fact, is somewhat legendary itself: Torn omelettes (“Schmarrn”) already had a longstanding tradition when Austria’s last “real” emperor, Franz Joseph I demanded one such thing for dessert. His cook quickly created this simple Schmarrn from few ingredients. Inspired by the milk, he named it “Käser Schmarrn” (Cheesemaker’s Schmarrn), which the old emperor misunderstood as “Kaiserschmarrn” (Emperor’s Schmarrn).

Since you don’t disagree with an emperor, the dish became known as just that. “Schmarrn” is also used in colloquial German like “rubbish” in English, describing inaccurate information or stories. I think that the legend of the name Kaiserschmarrn is just that…nevertheless, it makes a good story.


Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • 20 grams of raisins
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • 500 ml milk
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 table spoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • plum preserves for serving


How to prepare Kaiserschmarrn:

In a small bowl, combine raisins with rum and let soak 30 minutes then drain.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, white sugar, vanilla, and salt. Gradually whisk in the flour to make a smooth batter. Stir in the drained raisins.

In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Pour the batter into the skillet and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until the pancake has set and the bottom is golden brown. Turn over the pancake and cook 3 minutes, or until this side is also golden brown. Using a spatula or two forks, tear the pancake into bite-size pieces. Drizzle in the melted butter and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Turn up the heat to medium high and use a spatula to gently toss the pieces for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized. Sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar and serve with “Zwetschkenröster“, a kind of plum preserves.

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