Soft, fluffy, airy, and just slightly sweet are words I use to describe these delightful bits of traditional Austrian shredded pancake dessert, more popularly known as Kaiserschmarrn. My first steaming plate of Kaiserschmarrn were at a Viennese advent market, and they got me hooked! I knew I wanted to recreate these dessert pancakes at home.
What is Kaiserschmarrn?
The name, Kaiserschmarrn, is made up of two words, Kaiser (Emperor) and schmarren (shredded). Emporer Franz Josef I loved eating these shredded pancakes that it was nicknamed after him, and the moniker took off.
It's lighter and eggier than your typical American pancake, but thicker than a crepe. The fluffy pancakes get their pillowy texture from beaten egg whites folded into the mix. Traditionally, there are raisins in the pancakes that are soaked in rum before being added to the batter. But you can make Kaiserschmarrn without raisins or alcohol by simply leaving them out.
The ingredients list is short and simple:
- Milk: You can use a combination of heavy cream with water to replace the milk. Alternatively, you can also use non-dairy milk.
- Raisins and Rum: Raisins need to be soaked in rum but this is not required. To make Kaiserschmarrn without raisins, simply leave it out so you don't end up using the rum as well. If you want to use raisins but not rum, you can soak raisins in water instead.
Recipe Tips for Fluffy Shredded Pancakes
- Make Stiff Peaks: If you have a problem making stiff peaks, add ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar to the egg whites and continue beating. The cream of tartar will support bubbles in the foam and help create stiffer peaks.
- Get Messy: Some recipes require you to flip the entire pancake before shredding it. But since it will be shredded anyway, you can slice the pancakes in pieces, then flip them over in chunks.
How to Make Austrian Kaiserscharrn
- Add spiced rum to a bowl, and then add the raisins. Soak them for about 30 minutes. Drain the raisins and set them aside.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. In the bowl of egg yolks, add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cream them together.
- Add the milk to the batter. Then add some flour one third at a time and gently incorporate everything.
- Take the egg whites and place them in another bowl to beat until fluffy with stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Heat a pan and add a dollop of butter until melted. Add half of the batter and allow one side to cook until no longer sticky. Slice in to sections and flip over.
- As the second side cooks, begin to shred the pancakes into pieces. Keep cooking until the batter looks cooked through.
How to Serve
Traditionally, Kaiserschmarrn come topped with a plum compote called zwetschgenröster. or sweet apple sauce. Another simple option is to sprinkle them with powdered sugar and serve with a side of jam, as I did. Serve these shredded pancakes right away as dessert or a light breakfast.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend cooking and eating all the pancakes the day you make them. In my experience with storing Kaiserschmarrn in the fridge for even one day, I've learned that it changes the fluffy texture. I've reheated leftovers by adding some butter to a hot pan and slightly re-cooking them but they are not as light.
Landtmann's Jausen Station serves a quality Kaiserschmarnn in Vienna, Austria. I recommend this restaurant because it's right next to the Schonnbrunn Palace, which was the summer residence of Emporer Franz Josef I, the namesake of Kaiserschmarrn! Start your day with these pancakes, then take some time to walk the (free!) palace gardens.
Austrian Dessert Pancakes (Kaiserschmarrn) Recipe
- 30 grams raisins optional; if using without rum, use water instead
- 120 ml spiced rum (or water) optional (if using raisins)
- 125 grams all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs yolks and whites separated
- 350 ml milk
- 30 grams sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar optional; for stiff peaks
- butter for cooking
- powdered sugar
- [If using raisins] Add the raisins and the rum (or water) to a small bowl. Let the raisins soak in the rum (or water) for 30 minutes.
- Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites into two separate bowls. Set the egg whites aside. In the bowl of egg yolks, add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add the milk to the egg yolk batter and mix to combine. Then add a third of the flour and mix. Add more flour two more times, mixing each time. Then add the raisins. Set the bowl aside.
- Beat the egg whites until they are fluffy and make stiff peaks. If you are having trouble stabilizing the egg whites, add ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar and continue beating until you get stiff peaks.
- Gently add the egg whites into the egg yolk batter. Fold with a spatula until incorporated and smooth.
- Set a shallow pan on medium-low heat and melt some butter in it. Then add half of the batter into the pan making sure some raisins make it into the pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes as the bottom begins to set.
- Slice the pancake into sections and flip over each section. Let the pancake cook on the other side for at least 1 minute before slicing.
- Slice the pancake into pieces as the batter continue to cook for about 1-2 mins. The pancake is cooked when the pieces are soft and no longer runny.
- Top with powdered sugar and serve with some jam. For a traditional Austrian version, top with plum compote.
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