Austrian and German Recipes/ Breakfast/ Christmas/ little desserts/ Pancakes and Crepes/ Sweet Breakfast Ideas

Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian Torn Pancake) + VIDEO

20 September 2022 By Aleksandra

Kaiserschmarrn is one of the most popular Austrian recipes. It’s a large thick pancake that is torn into bite-sized pieces. It’s traditionally served with plum compote or apple sauce. This delicate and fluffy shredded pancake is packed with rum-soaked raisins and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

A piece of Kaiserschmarrn stuck on a fork is being dipped in plum compote.

Ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Kaiserschmarrn 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 smaller pieces.

To make this recipe you will need basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry: flour, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and butter.

In Austria, vanilla sugar is usually used instead of vanilla extract. It’s easily available in every grocery store. If you have it and want to use it, add 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar + 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, omit vanilla extract.

Additionally, you will need raisins and rum or lemon juice. Raisins are optional but I personally love them in Kaiserschmarrn. Rum/lemon juice are used to just soak raisins in them, they are not added to the batter.

You will also need something to serve your Kaiserschmarrn with, such as plum compote or apple sauce. More information about that can be found further below.

Labeled ingredients for Kaiserschmarrn.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (35g) raisins
  • 1 tablespoon rum or lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (240g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (150g) flour, spooned and leveled, not scooped
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Cooking method – stovetop vs oven

Kaiserschmarrn is a very thick pancake and can be difficult to cook on the stovetop – the common problem is that the outside of the pancake is browned but the middle is not cooked through. That’s why some people start cooking the pancake on the stovetop and then finish it in the oven. I personally find the baked pancake more dry in comparison to the stovetop pancake so I prefer the stovetop method. Both options are described below. The key to cooking the pancake on the stovetop is to cover the pan which helps the pancake set and cooking it over very low heat.

How to make Kaiserschmarrn step by step

Prepare the batter

Pancake batter with flour in a white bowl.
  • Soak 1/4 cup of raisins in 1 tablespoon of rum (or lemon juice). Set aside for the time of preparing the remaining ingredients or 30 minutes if you have time.
  • Melt the butter (4 tablespoons) in a large (10-inch or 26 cm) non-stick pan (you will need a tight-fitting lid for this pan). 2 tablespoons will be needed for the batter and 2 tablespoons will be needed to cook the pancake.
  • Separate 4 eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Add the egg whites into a clean metal/glass bowl and set aside.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar, 2 ts vanilla extract, 1 cup milk (240ml), 2 tablespoons melted butter (the remaining butter stays in the pan), and raisins (without rum/lemon juice).
  • Add 1 cup + 3 Tbsp (150g) of flour, whisk gently until just combined (small lumps in the batter are fine).
Whipped egg whites in a bowl. Whipped egg whites are being folded into the pancake batter.
  • 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.

Cook the pancake

Melted butter in a pan. Pancake batter in a pan.
  • Heat the butter in the pan, when it bubbles pour in the pancake batter.
  • 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 10 minutes over low heat (the heat should be low but not so low that the pancake is barely cooking – it will end up dense and greasy). 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).
A collage of 3 photos showing how to shred Kaiserschmarrn pancake.
  • Now you need to flip the pancake over. The easiest way to do this is to divide the batter into 4 parts. Flip over each piece separately using a large flat spatula. (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 2 minutes. Using a 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 to a plate. You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
  • Enjoy!

The whole process is shown on the video which can be found at the bottom of the post, on the top of the recipe card.

Kaiserschmarrn in the oven

How to cook the pancake in the oven: You will need an oven-safe pan.

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Prepare the batter according to instructions.
  • Cook the pancake in the pan for about 3 minutes, then put the pan in the oven and bake for about 8-12 minutes or until almost cooked in the middle (the time may vary depending on the oven).
  • 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.

What to serve with Kaiserschmarrn

Zwetschkenröster (Plum Compote) – shown on the photos

Kaiserschmarrn is most often served with plum compote, called Zwetschkenröster. It’s made with quickly stewed plums with sugar, lemon juice, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The plums are very soft and mostly broken down but they’re still chunky. Plum compote is not as smooth as plum jam (see the photo below, it was taken in one of the Viennese restaurants).

How to make plum compote:

Ingredients: 1 lb (450g) plums, 1/3 cup (67g) sugar (or to taste), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 1-3 tablespoons water (if needed).

Method: simply combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan (don’t add water just yet). Cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the plums are mostly broken down but not completely. If the compote is too dry, add a small amount of water. Firmer plums will need more water while ripe plums will release more moisture. You could also add a splash of red wine to the sauce.

Kaiserschmarrn with plum compote on a white plate.

Apple sauce

The quickest option and my kids’ favorite. Just open a jar of store-bought apple sauce. It goes perfectly with Kaiserschmarrn.

Caramelized plum and cranberry sauce

Not traditional but my favorite option if I have time and fresh cranberries are in season.

Ingredients needed:

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick cinnamon OR 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or orange juice
  • 12 oz plums (350g) washed, quartered and stoned
  • 20 pieces fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons water
A collage of 3 photos showing how to make caramelized plum sauce.
  • Add sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, and grated orange zest into a medium skillet.
  • Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, 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 red wine (or orange juice), stir, and cook for about one minute until evaporated.
A collage of 2 photos showing how to make caramelized plum sauce.
  • Add plums and fresh cranberries, cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is 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!

Kaiserschmarrn topped with caramelized plum and cranberry sauce on a white plate.

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 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 the food very tasty.

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.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian Torn Pancake) + VIDEO

Kaiserschmarrn is one of the most popular Austrian recipes. It’s a large thick pancake that is torn into bite-sized pieces. It’s traditionally served with plum compote or apple sauce. This delicate and fluffy shredded pancake is packed with rum-soaked raisins and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
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Kaiserschmarrn served with plum compote on a white plate.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 558kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (35g) raisins
  • 1 tablespoon rum or lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (240g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (150g) flour spooned and leveled, not scooped
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided

Instructions

Make the pancake batter:

  • In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum (or lemon juice). Set aside for the time of preparing the remaining ingredients or 30 minutes if you have time.
  • Melt the butter (4 tablespoons) in a large (10-11 inch or 27 cm) non-stick pan (you will need a tight-fitting lid for this pan or a piece of aluminium foil). 2 tablespoons will be needed for the batter and 2 tablespoons will be needed to cook the pancake.
  • Separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Add the egg whites into a clean metal/glass bowl and set aside.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with milk, sugar, vanilla, 2 tablespoons melted butter (the remaining butter stays in the pan) and raisins (without 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.

Cook the pancake:

  • Heat the butter in the pan, when it bubbles pour in the pancake batter.
  • 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 10 minutes over low heat (the heat should be low but not so low that the pancake is barely cooking – it will end up dense and greasy). 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 batter into 4 parts. Flip over each piece separately using a large flat spatula. (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 2 minutes. Using a 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 to a plate. You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can also add zest of 1 lemon to the batter.
  • If you don’t have a large non-stick pan with a tight-fitting lid, you can use any oven-safe pan that you have and finish your pancake in the oven instead of on the stovetop.
  • If you only have a small pan, not large, divide the batter into two parts and cook it in two batches or cook the whole batch in the oven.
  • How to cook the pancake in the oven: You will need an oven-safe pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare the batter according to instructions. Cook the pancake in the pan for about 3 minutes, then put the pan in the oven and bake for about 8-12 minutes or until almost cooked in the middle (the time may vary depending on the oven). 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.
  • You can serve Kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce, plum jam, plum compote, or caramelized plum and fresh cranberry sauce. The recipes for plum compote and caramelized plum sauce can be found in the post above.
  • How to measure flour: Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife. Use a digital scale for best and consistent results.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/3 of the recipe). Just the pancake, without any sauces. This is only an estimate!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine austrian
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