Kaiserschmarrn (Emperor’s Mess), is one of Austria’s best known desserts and is basically a shredded pancake. Its origin is based on several different stories. But all of them have in common that Franz Joseph I and his wife Elizabeth are responsible for this dish in the 18th century. One story tells that it was prepared for the wedding of Franz Joseph I and Elizabeth and thus was named “Kaiserinschmarrn”, “Kaiserin” is the German word for Empress, but Elizabeth was not very convinced by this dish whereas Franz Joseph I loved eating it. As a result, they renamed it to “Kaiserschmarrn”.

Usually, Kaiserschmarrn is served as a dessert but due to its popularity many tourist places serve it also as a full meal for lunch.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

100 g raisins
5 tbsp rum or cognac or water
6 egg yolks
1 Pack   Bourbon vanilla sugar
1 tbsp   sugar (heaped)
1 pinch salt        
250 g     flour
500 ml   milk
50 g       butter, melted
6            egg whites
4 tsp      powdered sugar
Butter for frying, approx. 15 – 25 g per pan

Cover the raisins with rum in a small bowl or glass for at least half an hour. If you don’t like rum, use cognac. Children and people avoiding alcohol should use water.

Mix the egg yolks with the vanilla sugar, a pinch of salt and one heaped tablespoon of sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually stir in spoons of flour and dashes of milk until everything is used up. Then stir in the melted butter. (You can leave that out if you watch your calorie intake, but it tastes better with the added butter. ) The dough will  be quite thin, that’s just right. Important! Let the dough rest for half an hour, then beat well again.

Whip the egg whites until very firm, it should create nice peaks. Gently fold into the dough with a spoon until all is smooth. Stir in the raisins without the rum.

In a frying pan, melt butter and pour in the dough to a height of about 1 cm. Reduce the heat a little and bake until golden brown. Look underneath it every now and then. Cut the mixture into quarters, turn the pieces over and bake again. Divide into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar and let the sugar caramelize briefly.

Arrange on plates and dust with powdered sugar. Do this two times with a little time in between.

Do the same with the rest of the dough. Before pouring into the pan, mix everything well again, as the raisins will quickly sink to the bottom.

Traditionally, Kaiserschmarrn is served with plum compote.

Tips for caramelizing: use a non-stick pan. Just add sugar, turn, wait half a minute, meanwhile add sugar to the unsweetened side, turn again, wait another half minute, done.