Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2015!
As promised, here is my very first entry of this new blog feature: traditional Austrian recipes. If you aren’t familiar with Austrian cuisine, you will come to see that many sweet dishes are considered to be perfectly appropriate meals. Similar to how North Americans enjoy pancakes or French toast for brunch. The difference is that in Austria, these types of dishes are served all week long, mostly for lunch. I’ve chosen to start with Kaiserschmarrn because I thought it would be one of the most accessible recipes for newbies. Kaiserschmarrn translates as Emperor’s mess.
My version is a variation on the traditional recipe in that, in my recipe, the egg whites aren’t whipped and the dish is not partially baked. I have used the traditional method in the past but have found that the recipe below is much simpler and produces a just-as-delicous final product.
To begin, make your favourite pancake batter. If you don’t have a favourite, feel free to borrow mine which is from Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegetarian Cuisine:
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (generous) milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 Tbsp melted butter
Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz up.
Here is where it gets different. Heat a large skillet and throw in a knob of butter or some oil. Pour ALL the batter into the pan. Don’t touch it! Let it cook for a few minutes until the bottom is set but the top is still soupy. Now stir it all up like you are making scrambled eggs. You may wish to use two forks to shred the pancake into strips (the traditional version) but I prefer to use a spatula to break the mass into bite sized nuggets.
Continue cooking and sautéing the nuggets. This process will take a lot longer than cooking a pancake because you dumped all the batter in at once.
Cook until the nuggets are browned all over and cooked through. The amount of time will depend on the size of your pieces. It can easily take 15 minutes. You don’t need to add any more fat to the pan during the sautéing.
Divide the nuggets on individual plates and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Each plate gets a big blob of apple sauce. The nuggets are dipped into the applesauce and then eaten.
Now get back to the food processor, pan and stove and do the whole thing over again. The Kaiserschmarrn are more delicious than normal pancakes so one batch will most definitely not be enough. Unless you don’t have five kids in which case you might get away with one batch. But I doubt it. Around here, a batch feeds 2-3 people.
Why not just double the batch at the beginning? Because it doesn’t work that way. Trust me on this. Neither your food processor, nor your pan are large enough and it would take forever to cook a double batch. Besides, whizzing everything in the machine takes a few seconds. And there’s something about making pancakes that necessitates one person standing at the stove while everyone eats, n’est ce pas?
In our house the second batch disappears and the kids are still clambering for more. I used to make a third batch but I’ve stopped doing that. With a third batch, there are leftovers, often on (greedy) people’s plates and everyone is Schmarrned out. With two batches, you end on a high note. Now that Onlyboy is 14, I think we’ll have to go back to making 3 batches!
Kaiserschmarrn makes a perfect weekday lunch. In Austria you will find it on pub, café, and even fancy restaurant menus. For adults, it goes great with a coffee.