austrian/ Christmas/ eggs for breakfast/ little desserts/ pancakes and crepes/ sweet breakfast

Kaiserschmarrn (Emperor’s pancake) with caramelized plum and cranberry sauce

10 November 2018 | Last Updated: 17 November 2019

Kaiserschmarrn is a very popular fluffy Austrian pancake. It’s served for breakfast or as a dessert. It’s cooked in a pan or baked in the oven then cut into bite-sized pieces. It’s traditionally served with a plum compote (Zwetschkenröster) or apple sauce (Apfelmuss). It’s made with whipped eggs so it’s really delicate and fluffy, but it’s only slightly similar to an omelet. I served this fluffy torn pancake with an amazing caramelized plum and cranberry sauce. Living in Vienna I had my fair share of Kaiserschmarrn, but I just can’t get enough of it!

kaiserschmarrn on a plate, overhead shot
kaiserschmarrn on a plate, close up shot

BRIEF HISTORY OF KAISERSCHMARRN:

What does Kaiserschmarrn mean: the name of this dessert comes from the German word “Kaiser” meaning emperor and “Schmarren” meaning mess.

There are many theories about the origin of this dessert. The two most popular ones claim that it was one of the favorite meals of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. The first one is an example of how delicious things can come out of kitchen failures. Apparently, the emperor got hungry while hunting, so he visited a farmer, that lived nearby. The poor man had only a few ingredients in his pantry, so he decided to make pancakes. Unfortunately, he was so nervous by the visit of an important guest, that in a hurry his pancakes have fallen apart. He decided to cover the pieces with plum compote. The second legend says that a court cook decided to please the Princess Sisi (the emperor’s wife). She was watching her line so he prepared a fluffy and delicate pancake. The Princess was very picky and unfortunately didn’t like it. On the other hand, the emperor has supposedly said “give me this mess (Schmarren), that our Leopold (the cook) has prepared.” Apparently, from this day, the pancake has become one of the Emperor’s favorite desserts.

Where to eat the best Kaiserschmarrn in Vienna: If you’re planning to visit Vienna, you can find my favorite Kaiserschmarrn here. In season it’s quite a touristic plate (reservation is a good idea!), but the area is lovely (Schönbrunn garden) and food very tasty.

HOW TO MAKE THE AUSTRIAN PANCAKE:

Kaiserschmarren batter is just a regular pancake batter, with whipped egg whites folded in. It’s cooked on the stovetop in the form of a giant and thick fluffy pancake, then torn into small pieces. This recipe makes two big servings, so you can prepare it on the stove if your pan is big enough, or start on the stove and finish in the oven. Very thick pancake can burn at the bottom and be not enough cooked through in the middle and not ready to flip over.

These are complete instructions on how to prepare the Austrian torn pancake. Scroll down for printable instructions (recipe card).

  1. First, prepare the pancakes batter:
kaiserschmarrn preparation steps
  • Separate 4 eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Add the egg whites into a clean metal/glass bowl and set aside.
  • Soak 4 tablespoons raisins in 2 tablespoons lemon juice or rum, set aside (you can soak them longer if you have time or use them right away).
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 3 Tbsp light brown sugar (or granulated sugar), 2 Tbsp vanilla sugar (OR 2 Tbsp light brown sugar + 2 ts vanilla extract), 1 ts lemon zest, 1 cup milk (240ml), and soaked raisins together (raisins with rum/lemon juice).
  • Add 1 cup + 1 Tbsp (135g / 4.7 oz) flour, whisk gently until just combined (small lumps in the batter are fine).
kaiserschmarrn preparation steps
  • Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold gently the whipped egg whites into the batter using a silicone spatula.

2. Now you need to cook the pancake.

kaiserschmarrn preparation steps
  • Heat the butter in the pan, when it bubbles pour in the pancake batter.
  • If you have a small pan (about 21 cm / 8-9 inches in diameter), it’s better to bake the pancake in the oven (in an ovenproof pan). It would be too thick to set on a stovetop without burning at the bottom. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5, no fan. Cook the pancake for about 3 minutes, then put the pan in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, cut the pancake using a spatula or knife into 4 parts, turn over, cook for 2 more minutes (on the stove). Tear the pancake into bite-sized pieces. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring gently until all the batter is set. Transfer to a plate.
  • If you have a very large frying pan (about 27 cm / 10-11 inch in diameter) you can make Kaiserschmarrn on the stovetop. Cover the pan with a lid (important, if you don‘t have a lid, then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or with a big sheet pan). Cook for about 15 minutes over low heat. After this time, the bottom of the pancake should be set and golden, but the top will be still a little runny. (This time can vary depending on your stovetop settings, lift the bottom of the pancake with a silicone spatula to check if the bottom is not burning). Now you need to flip the pancake over. The easiest way to do this is to divide the dough into 4-8 parts (use a wooden spatula and slice it like you would slice a pizza). Flip over each piece separately. (If it doesn‘t look nice and even, don‘t worry, the whole pancake will end up shredded anyway). Cook on the other side for about 3 minutes. Using a wooden spatula, tear the pancake into bite-sized pieces. Cook them for a couple more minutes, stirring gently until all the batter is set. Transfer shredded pancake pieces to a plate.
kaiserschmarrn preparation steps

3. Make the caramelized plum and cranberry sauce

An authentic plum compote is made a little different. Plums are cooked longer until they fall apart and no cranberries are added. I wanted that my plums retain their shape and caramel and cranberries add a wonderful taste. This sauce is really a-mazing! My second favorite side to Kaiserschmarrn is apple sauce. You can also serve it with apricot, red currant or cherry preserves.

kaiserschmarrn preparation steps
  • Add 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (OR 1 Tbsp granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 ts grated orange zest into a medium skillet.
  • Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, turns golden brown and is bubbling. (You can stir the mixture gently at the beginning, so that it dissolves evenly. If you get any lumps, it’s fine, they will dissolve later.)
  • Add 2 Tbsp red wine (or orange juice), stir, cook for about one minute until evaporated.
kaiserschmarrn preparation steps
  • Add 12 oz (350g) plums and 20 pieces fresh cranberries, cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened, but the plums still retain their shape. If the plums didn’t release much juice, you can add some water to create a thick sauce.
  • Discard the cloves and cinnamon stick.

ENJOY!

The most important piece of advice when making this recipe:

This fluffy pancake is very simple to make, but the only thing that could go wrong is if you set the heat too high. The bottom of the pancake can burn before the batter is set enough to be flipped over. So, set the heat on low and cover the pan (with a lid/a piece of aluminum foil or big sheet pan). This way the batter will set quicker and the pancake will be easier to flip over. But just to be clear – the batter should be set enough so that you can flip it over but it won’t be completely set. If this will look like a giant mess, don’t worry – this is how it should be. The mess is literally in the name of this dish! This would be easier to make if there were a smaller amount of batter but believe me, you wouldn’t want too little of this!

Here you’ll find more Austrian recipes: Austrian cuisine. If you have some cranberries left, you can also make pumpkin cranberry muffins and cranberry orange mulled wine.

Kaiserschmarrn – Emperor’s pancake with caramelized plum and cranberry sauce

Fluffy and thick shredded pancake, served with a delicious sauce made with caramelized plums, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and fresh cranberries. Perfect for a late Sunday breakfast!
kaiserschmarrn
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 928kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

Kaiserschmarren:

  • 4 tablespoons raisins can be omitted (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice you can also add rum
  • 1 cup milk 240 ml
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (preferably with real vanilla), OR 2 Tbsp light brown sugar + 2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest preferably from an organic lemon, can be omitted
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp flour 135g / 4.7 oz
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 heaped tablespoons butter for cooking the pancake, 40g / 1.4 oz
  • powdered sugar to serve

caramelized plum and cranberry sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar you can also use light brown sugar if you’ve more experienced
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (preferably with real vanilla) OR 1 Tbsp light brown sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick cinnamon OR 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest preferably from an organic orange
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or orange juice
  • 12 oz plums (350g) washed, quartered and stoned
  • 20 pieces fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

Kaiserschmarren:

  • Prepare the pancake batter:
  • Separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Add the egg whites into a clean metal/glass bowl and set aside.
  • Soak the raisins in lemon juice or rum, set aside (you can soak them longer if you have time or use them right away).
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, milk, and soaked raisins together (raisins with rum/lemon juice).
  • Add the flour, whisk gently until just combined (small lumps in the batter are fine).
  • Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold gently the whipped egg whites into the batter using a silicone spatula. Now you need to cook the pancake.
  • If you have a very large frying pan (about 27 cm / 10-11 inch in diameter) you can make kaiserschmarrn on the stovetop:
  • Heat the butter in the pan, when it bubbles pour in the pancake batter.
  • Cover with a lid (important, if you don‘t have a lid, then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or cover it with a big sheet pan). Cook for about 15 minutes over low heat. After this time, the bottom of the pancake should be set and golden, but the top will be still a little runny. (This time can vary depending on your stovetop settings, lift the bottom of the pancake with a silicone spatula to check if the bottom is not burning).
  • Now you need to flip the pancake over. The easiest way to do this is to divide the dough into 4-8 parts (use a wooden spatula and slice it like you would slice a pizza). Flip over each piece separately. (If it doesn‘t look nice and even, don‘t worry, the whole pancake will end up shredded anyway). Cook on the other side for about 3 minutes.
  • Using a wooden spatula, tear the pancake into bite-sized pieces. Cook them for a couple more minutes, stirring gently until all the batter is set.
  • Transfer shredded pancake pieces to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with the plum and cranberry sauce.
  • If you have a small pan (as in the photos below, e.g. about 21 cm / 8-9 inch in diameter), it’s better to bake the pancake in the oven (in an oven proof pan). It would be too thick to set on a stovetop without burning at the bottom
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5, no fan.
  • Melt the butter over medium-low heat in an oven proof skillet. When the butter is melted and bubbling pour in the pancake batter.
  • Cook the pancake for about 3 minutes, then put the pan in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes.
  • Take the pan out of the oven, cut the pancake using a spatula or knife into 4 parts, turn over, cook for 2 more minutes (on the stove).
  • Tear the pancake into bite-sized pieces. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring gently until all the batter is set.
  • Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with the plum and cranberry sauce.

caramelized plum with cranberry sauce:

  • Add sugar, vanilla sugar, cloves, cinnamon and orange peel into a medium skillet.
  • Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves, turns golden brown and is bubbling. (You can stir the mixture gently at the beginning, so that it dissolves evenly. If you get any lumps, it’s fine, they will dissolve later.)
  • Add the wine, stir, cook for about one minute until evaporated.
  • Add the plums and cranberries, cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened, but the plums still retain their shape. If the plums didn’t release much juice, you can add some water to create a thick sauce.
  • Discard the cloves and cinnamon stick.

Enjoy!

    Notes

    • If you’re not using raisins, don’t add rum / lemon juice and add 1.5 tablespoons less flour!
    • Instead of plum and cranberry sauce you can serve the kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce and any jam or preserves (like plum jam, cherry jam, red currant jam, apricot jam). After plum compote, apple sauce is my second favorite.
    Course Breakfast, Dessert
    Cuisine austrian
    Keyword austrian pancakes, emperor’s pancake, kaiserschmarrn, shredded pancake, torn pancake

    Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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