Classic Kaiserschmarrn is truly comfort food: one that sparks memories of alpine hikes, ski huts, and shared memories with friends. Simple good mood food. With this Kaiserschmarrn recipe, I have taken a traditional Austrian dish and made it my own. This version is made with spelt and buckwheat flour, which give it a slightly nutty flavour, and it’s lightly sweetened with natural raw cane sugar. It’s by far, my favorite version and one I hope you will enjoy just as much as I do.
Kaiserschmarrn – a traditional Austrian recipe
Kaiserschmarrn (“Kaiser” meaning “emperor”, and “Schmarrn” meaning “nonsense” or as our British friends would say “rubbish”) is simply a delicious mess of a pancake. It is a lightly sweetened pancake that takes its name from the Austrian emperor (Kaiser) Franz Joseph I, who was very fond of this shredded pancake. Whether it’s invention was simply the result of someone unable to flip a pancake who masterly tried to salvage it with a creative idea, or was designed by intend, I’m not sure. Nonetheless, this dish has stood the test the time, and still today is loved by young and old alike.
Tradition with a new approach
Typically a traditional Kaiserschmarrn recipe would be prepared in a skillet, but it can also be made in the oven or even using a tabletop grill. And this is exactly what I did to further put my LeMax glass ceramic grill to the test. With it’s large surface it’s easy to make a giant pancake — one you can easily flip without the side of a skillet getting in the way. And since it’s surface is scratch resistant you can use metal spatulas to cut or tear apart the dough to transform it into the ever-so-loved Austrian shredded pancake.
Tips for making this recipe
There are a couple of important steps in achieving the best Kaiserschmarrn. This fluffy pancake is made by dividing the egg yolks and whites. There’s no baking powder in this recipe, as the egg whites do all the work.
The egg yolks are mixed with the flour, milk, vanilla sugar and lemon zest and are set to rest. This is important. The batter must rest, so that the starch molecules in the flour can absorb liquid, otherwise it will be too runny. Resting results in a thicker consistency and in the end a more delicate textured pancake.
Now for the egg whites. They are beaten with the sugar until creamy. This takes maximum 1 minute with an hand-held electric beater. Some recipes call for using stiffly beaten egg whites. I prefer the creamy egg white version.
There are a number of different options. In Austria it is traditionally served with plum compote. A cherry compote is also delicious. As is a simple apple sauce. And of course, there is homemade3 vanilla sauce, which should definitely not be missing. And don’t forget about a good portion of powdered sugar!
Kaiserschmarrn - Simple, easy, delicious!
- 90 g spelt flour (Type 630)
- 50 g buckwheat flour
- 200 ml whole milk
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 package organic bourbon vanilla sugar (8 g)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind, from an organic lemon
- 60 g raw cane sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Butter, for frying
- Powdered sugar
- Natural unsweetened apple sauce
In a large mixing bowl, add both flours and whisk together. Add the vanilla sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks and milk. Gently whisk to combine (do not over mix). Set aside to rest for 15 minutes (important, do not skip this step).
In a second bowl, add the egg whites, sugar and pinch of salt and using an electric hand beater, beat together until creamy (1 minute). Gently fold the egg white mixture into the rested dough.
Meanwhile, preheat a tabletop grill (or large skillet) over medium-high heat (level 8 for the LeMax for 5 minutes).
Lightly grease the surface with butter (about 1 teaspoon).
Using a ladle, gently pour 3-4 ladles full of batter in circles onto the grill. Brown for 2 minutes, then using two spatulas, flip and bake on the other side for a few seconds, then tear into bite-sized pieces (using two spatulas). Continue cooking briefly, until golden brown. Then transfer to a plate for serving.
Coat the grill with a little more butter and continue with the remaining batter.
Serve the Kaiserschmarrn dusted with powdered sugar and apple sauce on the side. Enjoy!
- if using a skillet, you can either make the Kaiserschmarrn in batches OR use a large 32cm skillet and quarter the large pancake before flipping it. Then bake on the other side until golden brown, before tearing into bite-sized pieces.
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Many thanks to ELAG Products GmbH for sponsoring this Kaiserschmarrn recipe.