Kaiserschmarrn 

I don’t typically post iPhone pictures here, but I did want to get a quick post in for Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday as it is also known in the UK for this beautiful Kaiserschmarrn.

Pancake Tuesday does not exist in Germany but as a lover of all manners of pancakes I quickly embraced this tradition when I moved to the UK for boarding school as a teenager. As much as I love a regular pancake (which are very similar to the Pfannkuchen I grew up eating in Germany, except that you would never see a German top theirs with lemon juice and sugar – we tend to go more for jam or nutella), Pancake Tuesday is the perfect day to try out something a little different.

A few weeks ago I was in Garmisch Partenkirchen for a retreat with colleagues from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Staying in a small but very luxurious hut right on the slopes and surrounded by stunning views over the snow-topped alps, the food was as delicious and hearty as you would expect. But my favourite meal of the entire weekend was no doubt the Kaiserschmarrn and apple sauce they wheeled out for us at midnight one night.

Kaiserschmarrn is unique (and delicious) for a number of reasons. For starters, it has a low ratio of flour to eggs and milk – resulting in a very eggy pancake. Plus, the eggs are separated and the whites beaten until stiff and then carefully folded back into the batter. So you end up with a beautifully light pancake. But don’t be fooled – Kaiserschmarrn itself is far from a light affair.  In fact, Kaiserschmarrn are twice-fried pancakes. Once each pancake is ready, it gets torn into smaller pieces which are then re-fried in butter before the whole thing is dusted with icing sugar and served with jam, fruit compote or apple sauce. And did I mention that the batter typically also includes rum-soaked raisins? What’s not to love!

Kaiserschmarrn is a wonderful thing indeed and there is no reason for those of us outside Germany and Austria where it is very common to relegate eating it to trips skiing in the alps.  So why not give Kaiserschmarrn a go for this year’s Shrove Tuesday?

Kaiserschmarrn

Note: Purists will eat the Kaiserschmarrn simply dusted with some icing sugar. I always opt for some fruit alongside it. At home in Germany you can buy jars of gently stewed cherries and plums which work well. Sometimes I also make a quick compote of blueberries and maple syrup (I always keep some blueberries in the freezer for exactly those kinds of occasions). In a pinch, some good quality jam will do the trick as well. If you are making this for kids, either omit the rum-soaked raisins or soak the raisins in apple or orange juice instead.  If you are making this for a crowd, it is easiest to fry the torn Kaiserschmarrn in batches, keeping everything warm in a casserole in the oven while you do so.    

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 tbsp rasins
Rum (to soak the raisins)
2 eggs, separated
125ml milk
75g flour
Pinch of salt
20g melted butter plus extra butter for frying
1 tbsp sugar

Icing sugar, fruit compote, apple sauce or jam to serve.

Directions

Start by soaking the raisins in just enough rum to cover them. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Whisk the yolks with the milk, flour, salt and melted butter until you have a smooth batter.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture.

Melt a little bit of butter in a large frying pan on medium heat.  Add half the batter and swirl around until the batter covers the bottom of the pan completely.  Once the top of the pancake is set, carefully flip over.  Continue cooking the pancake until completely set and golden brown on both sides.  Slide pancake onto a plate.  Repeat with the second pancake.

Using a fork or spatula, tear both pancakes into bite-sized pieces.  Melt a little bit of butter in the frying pan and add the torn pancake pieces and sprinkle over the sugar.  Fry gently until the sugar is melted and the Kaiserschmarrn is starting to brown.

Serve immediately dusted generously with icing sugar and with some fruit compote, apple sauce or jam on the side.

And next time, why not try the below twist on the classic Kaiserschmarrn: simply swap the 75g flour dor 50g masa harina and 25g yellow polenta. Serve with a quick compote made with a small handful of blueberries and a tablespoon of maple syrup

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