Kaiserschmarrn is my all-time favorite. Also known as emperor’s mess, it is a fluffy and light, giant pancake, which is torn into bite-size pieces after baking.
The name is composed of the words Kaiser (emperor) and Schmarrn, which refers to a shredded dish in Austria. But be careful: Schmarrn is also a colloquialism to nonsense.
The dish is named after the Austrian emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I. (1830-1916) who was very fond of sweet treats like this. By the way, Franz Joseph is still a big deal in Austria.
Usually, this traditional Austrian treat is accompanied by plum compote (Zwetschgenröster) or some other fruit compote. Often, you will find some raisins in Kaiserschmarrn, but I prefer this dish without. Feel free to add some, if you like. The traditional way is to soak them in brown rum for a while before adding them to the batter ;-)
By heritage and taste, I am a huge carb-lover. I simply cannot resist anything even remotely related to pancakes. These flour-egg-milk based dishes are my comfort food, be it sweet meals like Palatschinken (crêpes) or Buchteln (sweet, filled yeast buns). I sometimes eat sweet flour-based dishes for lunch, but of course, within reason.
About the recipe
I already posted a recipe for Kaiserschmarrn with elderflowers in my first days of blogging, more than 4 years ago. The method that I used back then was to cook the Kaiserschmarrn on the stove-top only – without later putting it into the oven. I still use this method sometimes, but the tricky part here is to flip the giant pancake while the batter is still runny. If you are not skilled, this can get kind of messy.
If you don’t want to risk a batter scattered kitchen, you might want to try the method below, here the Kaiserschmarrn is baked in the oven for 10 minutes. The Kaiserschmarrn will even be fluffier and since the surface of the pancake is set, flipping it will be an easy task. It doesn’t even take longer to make it with this method, the only difference is preheating the oven to 395 °F (200 °C).
Recipe for shredded pancakes
Beat the egg whites with salt and sugar until soft-to-firm peaks form.
With a hand whisk, whisk together egg yolks, milk, and 1 tablespoon sugar, then flour. Lighten the batter with one third of the beaten egg whites and fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Try to keep the volume when folding in the beaten egg whites.
Heat clarified butter, oil or regular unsalted butter over medium heat in a large frying pan (at least 10 inch Ø, with ovenproof handle) on the stove-top. Pour the batter into the hot pan, spread evenly, and bake for about 1 minute.
Transfer the pan to the preheated oven, middle rack, and let it bake until puffy and golden on top, for about 10-12 minutes. Quarter the pancake with two spatulas and turn each quarter.
Tear the pancake into small pieces. Voila, this is your Kaiserschmarrn.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Traditionally, Kaiserschmarrn is accompanied by Zwetschgenröster, a fruit compote made with plums. However, you can serve it along with any fresh fruit or compote in season.
I’ve already posted a recipe for plum compote here. In the pictures above, I adapted it slightly: I used small damsons, which I halved, used only 2 cloves, and more water (1/2 cup) to get more sweet plum juice.
This is a very detailed recipe for emperor’s mess (Kaiserschmarrn) – because I want you to get a perfect result. This version is baked in the oven for 10 minutes for easy handling. This fluffy, giant shredded pancake is simple to make and only needs a few ingredients, so please don’t get scared off by my lengthy instructions.
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (1-3 tablespoons sugar are fine, depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1/2 + 1/3 cup milk (200 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (4.5 oz / 125 g)
- Optional: 2 tbsp raisins (soaked in brown rum)
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee), neutral-tasting oil or unsalted butter for frying
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- To serve: plum compote (or any compote or fresh fruits)*
- Additional: ovenproof large frying pan (10-inch or larger)
- Preheat the oven to 395 °F (200 °C), top and bottom heat. If using a fan-oven, reduce temperature to 355 °F (180 °C).
- Beat the egg whites with salt and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft-to-firm peaks form. Do not beat until stiff since this will make it harder to fold in stiff beaten egg whites later.
- With a hand whisk, whisk together egg yolks, about half of the milk (1/2 cup), vanilla, and 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Stir in flour until you get a smooth batter. Just now, add the rest of the milk. It is much easier to avoid lumps, if the batter is pretty thick.
- Using the hand whisk, add about one third of the beaten egg whites and stir them in, to lighten the batter. Then, carefully fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites, try to keep the volume.
- Heat clarified butter or oil over medium heat in a large frying pan (at least 10 inch Ø, with ovenproof handle) on the stove-top. If you are using butter, make sure not to overheat it. We want hot but not browned butter. Pour the batter into the hot pan, spread evenly, and bake for about 1 minute. If using raisins, scatter them over the batter.
- Transfer the pan to the preheated oven, middle rack, and let it bake until puffy and golden on top, for about 10-12 minutes. Note: This time depends very much on your oven and the temperature you used to pre-bake this giant pancake on the stove-top. If the top of the Kaiserschmarrn is still pale after 15 minutes in the oven, check the bottom of the batter with a spatula to make sure it doesn’t get too brown or even scorched. You can always flip the pancake when out of the oven and brown the pale side later.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set it on low heat on the stove-top. Quarter the pancake with two spatulas and turn. If the top side was golden already, keep the quartered pancake on low heat and cut them further into pieces with two spatulas (or two forks). If your pancake was rather pale on top turn the heat to medium and let the turned quarters fry until golden. Dial back the heat (or turn it off) and tear the quarters into pieces. Transfer the Kaiserschmarrn to plates and generously dust with powdered sugar through a sieve.
- Traditionally, Kaiserschmarrn is accompanied by Zwetschgenröster, a fruit compote made with plums. However, you can serve it along with any fresh fruit or compote in season.
*I’ve already posted a recipe for plum compote here. In the pictures above, I adapted it slightly: I used small damsons, which I halved, used only 2 cloves, and more water (1/2 cup) to get more sweet plum juice.
Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to [email protected]
Another amazing recipe from you; the detailed instructions make it as foolproof as any other recipe of yours I’ve tried so far.
Thanks for trying some of my recipes and leaving a comment. Love to hear that they work out well :-)))
Hi, I just tried this recipe and it was delicious. Although I had already begun folding the egg whites in with the batter and then I realized that the recipe didn’t mention when to add the vanilla. I quickly sprinkled in some vanilla sugar as I folded to get some vanilla in there. Thank you for the yummy recipe—my family demanded that I make it every day from now on.
Thanks so much for your comment and for trying the recipe. Happy to hear that you and your family liked it. Thanks so much for pointig out the missing vanilla. I’ve added it to the instructions. No problem if you leave it out, by the way. Best, Ursula
Hi Ursula, this was such a treat! It was a yummy (and filling) dessert for three people, I can’t wait to make it again… and your instructions were great – easy to follow. My mom recognized this as a treat she occasionally ate as a kid (we’re from Belgrade), and even I recognize so many of your recipes as delicious sweet and savoury foods I grew up eating :D
So happy to hear that! This is one of my favorite dishes ever! I bet there is a version of it in very European country ;-) Thanks for your comment and I hope you will make many more treats like this :) Ursula
I was excited to find this recipe. this kind of messy dessert is just up my alley. I live in a one room apartment with only a toaster oven. So I halved the recipe, baked it in the toaster oven, in my 3″ 11×7″ deep baking pan (fat daddio). It rose nicely, but stayed contained in the pan. I was concerned that it might go over, and there is not much room for rising in a toaster oven. But it worked really well, rose to the edge of pan, along the edges, but not quite so high in the middle. Baked for about 8 minutes. Can’t eat powdered sugar, but spread it with marmalade, which is probably not traditional, but what I had. So good. Really nice texture and the bite to the tooth is lovely. I can se many directions for this, sweet or savory Thank you so much.
Great to hear that the recipe works in a toaster oven as well. I’ve never tried that. When young, we often ate Kaiserschmarrn with jam or marmalade, so you are in line with Austrian tradition :)
I would love to know what you call damsons in Austrian German (as mentioned in your recipe for plum compote).
We simply call them “Zwetschken” in Austria ;-)) . Compared to plums, they are blue-ish to purple, are often times rather small and usually not round but rather oval. Hope this answers your question, and I hope I dind’t understand it the wrong way. Ursula