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Sweet dreams from Schärding in Austria

 

Homage to Empress Sisi and Franz: our favourite recipe for Austrian Kaiserschmarrn

This year on Austrian National Day, the Högl team will be swapping the office for the kitchen and having a go at making the imperial dessert named after Empress Sisi’s husband Franz Josef I.

Think of Austria and you probably think of winter sports, mountains and Mozart. And of course, our traditional cuisine with all its delicious pastries and desserts! Alongside Salzburger Nockerl (sweet dumplings), Palatschinken (pancakes) and Topfenstrudel (cream cheese strudel), Kaiserschmarrn is a hot favourite with Austrians that has become known outside the country as well. But what are the origins of this traditional dessert? After all, ‘Schmarrn’ actually means nonsense or something trifling and meaningless – and that definitely doesn’t apply to the delectable Kaiserschmarrn! Popular history says that the dish is named after Kaiser Franz Josef I. As the court chef was always tasked with preparing low-calorie dishes for the Kaiser’s wife Elisabeth (Sisi), she wasn’t impressed by some Palatschinken pancakes that had turned out a little too thick. To rescue the situation, good old Franz took pity on the dish, saying “Oh, pass that mess that our Leopold has cooked up over here.” The Kaiser was so impressed by the plump shredded pancake with raisins that the dessert ultimately got the name ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ or ‘Emperor’s Mess’.

We’re marking Austrian National Day by sharing our favourite recipe for this traditional dish. We’re spending our day off in the very best way: with a long lie-in, followed by a leisurely autumn walk and then cooking up some real soul food.

The great thing about Kaiserschmarrn is that the shops being closed doesn’t stop us from making it on the spur of the moment, as most people have eggs, flour, sugar and milk to hand. We recommend serving Kaiserschmarrn with homemade plum compote but, obviously, it also tastes great dusted with icing sugar or paired with apple puree or lingonberry jam.

Batter:

  • 3 tbsp raisins soaked in rum
  • 4 eggs
  • 125 ml milk
  • 120 g plain flour
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g icing sugar (and a little extra)

Plum compote:

  • 500 g plums (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • (increase the quantity if you prefer it sweeter)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 50 ml water
  • A dash of amaretto
  • A pinch of cinnamon

To prepare the Kaiserschmarrn:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in a large bowl, add the milk and whisk until foaming.

3. Add the flour, caster sugar and the soured cream and mix to a smooth batter.

4. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt using a hand mixer, until stiff.

5. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

6. Heat the clarified butter in an ovenproof non-stick pan. Pour in the batter and scatter with the raisins. Cook over a moderate heat until the base is golden brown.

7. Put the pan in the oven and bake the Kaiserschmarrn for around 10-15 minutes.

8. Use a spatula to break the Kaiserschmarrn into small pieces. Add 50 g of butter in small pieces to the pan, along with the icing sugar, and caramelise the Kaiserschmarrn over a low heat. Dust with icing sugar to serve.


To prepare the plum compote:

1. Put the plums, sugar, lemon juice and water in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes. We used plums from the freezer, so we didn’t need to add any water. If you use fresh plums, you will need to add some water before simmering them.

2. After reducing the compote for five minutes, add the amaretto and the cinnamon to taste. The plum compote is ready when the plums have cooked down to a thick pulp.

 

Here at Högl, we hope you have fun following our recipe and that you enjoy the results!


Our choice of shoes for the perfect day off involving an autumn walk, the sofa and Kaiserschmarrn: