Austria: the dish “Kaiserschmarrn”
Austrian dish “Kaiserschmarrn”
The name of this dish consists of two parts Kaiser and Schmarrn. Despite the fact that tradition connects kaiserschmarrn with the Emperor Franz Joseph, thus explaining the origin of the name of the dish, historians believe that Kaiser comes from the Austrian word Kaser (shepherd) or Casa (in South Tyrol this dish is called Casaschmarrn – homemade shredded dish).
According to a legend, kaiserschmarrn was a favorite dish of the Austrian Emperor (Kaiser) Franz Joseph I, who is where the name originated from. Another legend says that the Emperor was very fond of sweet pancakes. When they came out too thick or were torn in the process of cooking, the court cook served them to the servants in the kaiserschmarrn form (shredded), as they were not suitable for the Emperor’s table (in German – A Schmarrn des am Kaiser zu servieren). According to another version of the legend, the sweet omelet prepared for the Emperor once stuck to the pan and broke; the upset cook wanted to throw it away but the Emperor ordered to serve the dish on the table as it is, and in this form it became his favourite and was called the ‘Imperial’.
For centuries, schmarrn was a popular dish of ordinary people and in its original form more resembled a hearty porridge, long considered as food for the poor: farmers, shepherds, etc.. By the XVIII century, this simple rural dish got into the urban environment, where its recipe was significantly revised. From a filling peasant meal, kaiserschmarrn turned into a dessert served in the salons of Vienna, becoming a symbol of prosperity, since sugar and wheat flour of the highest quality were expensive and for a long time remained available only to the wealthy.
The kaiserschmarrn is made by using sweet pancake batter: flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and a pinch of salt. The dough is poured into the pan and fried until the underside is ready. Then the dough in the process of frying is divided into small pieces with a spatula and fried until a crisp crust is formed. Kaiserschmarrn is served with powdered sugar, usually with vanilla sauce or jam.