Kaiserschmarrn or Kaiserschmarren (Emperor’s Mess) is a shredded pancake, which has its name from the Austrian emperor (Kaiser) Franz Joseph I, who was very fond of this kind of fluffy shredded pancake.
Kaiserschmarrn is a popular meal or dessert in Austria, South Germany, and many former parts of the Habsburg Monarchy, e.g. Hungary, Slovenia, and northern Croatia, which usually use the name as a loan word or translations of it. In Slovenia, it is called “cesarski praženec” or “šmorn”. Its Hungarian name is “császármorzsa”; its Czech name is “(Císařský) trhanec” or “kajzršmorn”.
Kaiserschmarren is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter using flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, baked in butter. Kaiserschmarren can be prepared in different ways. When making Kaiserschmarren the egg whites are usually separated from the yolk and beaten until stiff; then the flour and the yolks are mixed with sugar, and the other ingredients are added, including: nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam, or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and slivered almonds. The last mentioned ingredients (nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam, or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and chopped almonds) aren’t in the original recipe and just additions made by some cooks based on their personal preferences. In the original recipe there are only raisins (before cooking they are soaked in rum).
The pancake is split with two forks into pieces while frying and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served hot with apple or plum sauce or various fruit compotes, including plum, lingonberry, strawberry, or apple. Kaiserschmarren is eaten like a dessert, or it can also be eaten for lunch at tourist places like mountainside restaurants and taverns in the Austrian Alps, as a quite filling meal.
Traditionally, Kaiserschmarren is accompanied with Zwetschkenröster, a fruit compote made out of plums.
Like the closely related dish Sterz the Schmarrn derived from the simple but hearty cuisine of the alpine regions, there are different versions like Erdäpfelschmarrn (with potatoes), Äpfelschmarrn (with apples) or Kirschschmarren (with cherries),usually prepared on an open fireplace of a so-called Rauchkuchl. The Kaiserschmarrn is simply a more refined and richer version of this former staple food, which sometimes consisted of only flour and lard.