Monday, December 31, 2018

Kaiserschmarrn or The Emperor's Mess

This recipe comes to you via a long internet rabbit hole! We were watching the Great Baking Challenge, Holiday Edition, on Netflix. It's the Great British Bakeoff but brought to America, with the addition of judge Sherry Yard. Sherry Yard.. I knew I recognized her name, wasn't she the pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck? So I started poking around, and discovered, yes! She is also the three-time James Beard Award winning pastry chef Sherry Yard. Her Wikipedia page lists her accomplishments and also in a one-sentence paragraph, "Yard has stated that her signature dessert is Kaiserschmarrn.

I had never heard of Kaiserschmarrn, so I looked it up, and watched endless videos in German featuring people making it, and it is one of those recipes that people make in a variety of ways. A video in Tiroli claiming to have the original recipe makes it more like a flat pancake which gets broken into pieces. Other recipes separate the eggs and beat the whites, and bake it in the oven more like a souffle. Whatever the technic, it all ends up on the plate in messy pieces, caramelized somewhat with butter and sugar, and served with plum or lingonberry.

I am going to start with the recipe from the Austrian National Tourist Office and go from there. Many of the recipes used raisins, and some of them had soaked the raisins in rum. I didn't have raisins, but I did have candied orange peel, so I soaked a few tablespoons in a little bit of an apple brandy we have in the pantry, having no rum either. I'm not sure the dish needs it, it almost distracts from the lusciousness that ends up on the plate.

And yeah, it's messy. But it's delicious. Its' closest cousin is probably the pannukakku, the delicious oven pancake from Finland that is more custardy than most German/Dutch oven pancakes. But with added caramelization (meaning added flavor) and more prescribed toppings.

Kaiserschmarrn or The Emperor's Mess

  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • a dash of rum or other liqueur
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for egg whites)
  • 2-4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of butter shavings and granulated sugar, for caramelizing
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Place the raisins and/or dried fruit in a bowl, mix with the rum and leave to stand for approx. 15 minutes. Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a mixing bowl. Pour in the milk and vanilla, and add the flour. Mix to form a smooth batter.

Beat the egg whites together with the sugar and a small pinch of salt until it forms a firm peak, and fold into the batter mix. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a heatproof (coated) dish. Pour in the mixture and after 1–2 minutes sprinkle the soaked raisins over the top. Cook the underside until light brown, turn over using a spatula and bake for 6–8 minutes in the pre-heated oven until golden brown.*

Tear the ‘Schmarren’ into small pieces, using two forks. Sprinkle the butter shavings over the top, add some crystal sugar, and caramelize in the broiler under high top heat.**

Remove from the oven and arrange on pre-heated plates. Dust with confectioners sugar and cinnamon.

Serve with baked plums, a berry or fruit compote.

*Because I had seen it made so many ways, I did not turn over the pancake before putting it in the oven. But after 8 minutes it hadn't cooked through. I cut it into quarters, turned it over in messy fashion, and finished cooking it on the stovetop. I do think the oven helps with the rise of the batter.
**I just tossed in the pan on the stove until everything was cooked through enough and some parts were browning. I only ended up with one piece that seemed too dark.

Over all, the pan I chose didn't quite fit all of the batter, so some adjustment may need to be made (or just leave some out!

Speaking of pancakes...
Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American.

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