Kaiserschmarrn with (top left) apple sauce
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|Flour, eggs, sugar, milk, butter|
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Kaiserschmarrn or Kaiserschmarren is a refined variant of the Schmarrn, a scratched pancake, which has its name from the Austrian emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria, who was very fond of this kind of fluffy scratched pancake. It is a popular meal or dessert in Austria, South Germany, Hungary and Czechia.
The name Kaiserschmarrn means Schmarrn (scratched pancake) of the Kaiser (emperor), whereby Schmarrn has also get the meaning of "folly". Therefore Kaiser Franz Joseph´s love for this kind of fluffy scratched pancake was his "folly".
The german word schmarren is related to scharren (to scrab) and schmieren (to smear) and means scratching, dissecting, smearing. In relation to the love of the emperor for this kind of pancake the word "Schmarrn" has also get the meaning of folly, trifle, mishmash, mess and nonsense in Austria and Bavaria. Its Hungarian name is "császármorzsa"; its Czech name is "kajzršmorn".
Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter using flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, baked in butter. Kaiserschmarrn can be prepared in different ways. When making Kaiserschmarrn the egg whites are usually separated from the yolk and beaten until stiff; then the flour and the yolks are mixed with sugar, and the other ingredients are added, including: nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam, or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and chopped almonds. The last mentioned ingredients (nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam, or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and chopped almonds) aren´t in the original recipe and just additions made by some cooks based on their personal preferences. In the original recipe there are only raisins (before cooking they are soaked in rum).
The pancake is split into pieces while frying, shredded after preparation and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served hot with apple or plum sauce or various fruit compotes, including plum, lingonberry, strawberry, or apple. Kaiserschmarrn is eaten like a dessert, or it can also be eaten for lunch at tourist places like mountainside restaurants and taverns in the Austrian Alps, as a quite filling meal.
Traditionally, Kaiserschmarrn is accompanied with Zwetschkenröster, a fruit compote made out of plums.
Like the closely related dish Sterz the Schmarrn derived from the simple but hearty cuisine of the alpine regions, there are different versions like Erdäpfelschmarren (with potatoes), Äpfelschmarren (with apples) or Kirschschmarren (with cherries), usually prepared on an open fireplace of a so-called Rauchkuchl. The Kaiserschmarrn is simply a more refined and richer version of this former staple food, which sometimes consisted of only flour and lard.
It is generally agreed that the dish was first prepared for the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I (1830–1916). There are several stories. One apocryphal story involves the Emperor and his wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria, of the House of Wittelsbach. Obsessed with maintaining a minimal waistline, the Empress Elisabeth directed the royal chef to prepare only light desserts for her, much to the consternation and annoyance of her notoriously austere husband. Upon being presented with the chef’s confection, she found it too rich and refused to eat it. The exasperated Francis Joseph quipped, “Now let me see what "Schmarrn" our chef has cooked up”. It apparently met his approval as he finished his and even his wife’s serving. Thereafter, the dessert was called Kaiserschmarrn across the Empire.
- Sherarton,Mimi, The German Cookbook, Random House, New York , 2002
- June Meyers Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes Cookbook
- Sheraton, Mimi, The German Cookbook, Random House, New York, 2002