Kaiserschmarrn! What a legend!

Is it really so hard to make yourself or is it only tasty while sitting on top of a sunny mountain in the Austrian alps? Nonsense. Kaiserschmarrn is easy to prepare yourself and tasty wherever you are. Believe me.

I have been telling a couple of stories about my life in Switzerland and how it changed my relationship to Austria and its culinary delights. One of them – obviously – is the Kaiserschmarrn. Funnily people outside of Austria think that Kaiserschmarrn takes forever to cook yourself, it almost seems like a mission impossible. When I was a kid, my dad and my grandmothers regularly made Kaiserschmarrn for dinner or just as a snack in between. Just because! Everybody loves Kaiserschmarrn, including me … so I treated a couple of my Swiss friends with this Austrian dish. And they were very surprised how easy it was to prepare.

Let me share the not-so-secret legend on how to make Kaiserschmarrn! There are thousands of recipes you can find online or in books. You can try any of these and I am almost sure all of them are good. There are slight differences in the recipes when it comes to the eggs (separate them or not …). But that’s it.

Recipe for 4 people:

  • 260 g flour
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 400 ml milk
  • Butter for the pan
  • Raisins (if you like them)
  • Icing sugar to finish

How to do it:

  1. Whisk the egg whites until snowy or stiff.
  2. Mix flour, sugar salt and the egg yolks into a smooth batter.
  3. Slowly fold the stiff egg whites into the mixture.

You can also do it without separating the egg whites and yolks from each other, but the batter is going to be fluffier. You can also use a little bit of sparkling water to make it fluffy.

  1. Head the butter in a big pan and slowly put the batter into the pan.
  2. Bake it, turn it and bake it until it is light gold brown on both sides.
  3. Now you can decide whether to finish the Kaiserschmarrn in the pan or you put it into the pre-heated oven to let it bake some more and get some golden colour (about 180°C hot air).
  4. When finished, slice the finished batter with two forks or spoons (don’t use a knife for the original form) into unregular pieces.
  5. If you like, you can now put some raisins into the Kaiserschmarrn. You can also leave them out.

Mahlzeit!

BUT: What is Kaiserschmarrn without Zwetschkenröster?

My grandmother makes the most delicious Zwetschkenröster ever! Believe me… I could eat it all day long even without Kaiserschmarrn 😉. So what is this and how do you make it?

Zwetschkenröster are actually roasted plums with sugar and red wine. You need to make the Zwetschkenröster in advance and you can also put it in glass pots, immediately close it and make it last for some time in the fridge.

Recipe for 4 people:

  • 80 g sugar
  • 200 ml
  • ½ tea spoon of cinnamon
  • 400 g of plums

How to do it:

  1. Cut the plums in half or quarters (depending on their size).
  2. Let the sugar caramelize in a pan.
  3. Put the red wine into the pan and stir until the caramel has dissolved.
  4. Continue stirring and add the cinnamon.
  5. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the sliced plums.
  7. Cook it until it has a decent consistency for you. Some prefer the plums to be very soft or they even cook everything until they fall apart. You can also stop cooking after another 5 minutes. It depends on you.
  8. Let it cool.

Now serve the Kaiserschmarrn with some icing sugar and some Zwetschkenröster. Trust me – you are going to love it (thanks Grandma 😊).

Why is it called Kaiserschmarrn?

The name is quite funny, to be fair. “Kaiser” means “emperor” and “Schmarrn” can be translated in different ways. One of the translations can be “rubbish” or “bullshit”. Like “Erzähl mir nicht so einen Schmarrn” – “Don’t lie to me” or ”Don’t tell me such bullshit”. But there is one story that goes along with the naming of the Kaiserschmarrn. One of the cooks of the Austrian imperial couple (obviously Franzl and Sissi) was very eager to cook especially light desserts for the very body conscious Sissi. She did not really like his creation of sliced pancakes, so the emperor said something like “Oh damn it, give this Schmarrn to me”. So maybe this is the true story of how it got its name. But there are also others …