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.