Kaiserschmarrn (torn pancake dessert)

Tear and share: Kaiserschmarrn is a twice-cooked fluffy pancake.
Tear and share: Kaiserschmarrn is a twice-cooked fluffy pancake. Photo: William Meppem

The "Kaiser" here refers to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, who loved this "messy" pancake so much it was named after him. But calling it a pancake is to underestimate this delicious and convivial shared dessert. The batter is first baked in the oven, then torn up with two spoons and tossed in a hot-buttered pan. The result? Delicious pillows with crispy edges punctuated by booze-laced raisins.


25g raisins

2 tbsp rum or brandy

40g unsalted butter, soft

100g castor sugar

3 egg yolks

100g full-fat sour cream

seeds from ½ vanilla pod

65g plain flour

4 egg whites

¼ tsp salt icing sugar, for dusting

cherry or plum jam, to serve


1. Place raisins in a small jar, add the rum (or brandy) and macerate for at least one hour, ideally overnight.

2. You will need a 23-25cm ovenproof frying pan (cast-iron is ideal) or shallow dish. Using your fingers, smear 1 tablespoon of the soft butter liberally all over the base and sides of the pan or dish. Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar on top, shaking the pan and tapping all over to coat evenly. Shake off any excess and place the pan or dish in the fridge.

3. Preheat oven to 195C (175C fan-forced).

4. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, add two tablespoons of sugar and whisk together until smooth. Add the sour cream, vanilla seeds and rum/brandy used for soaking the raisins – reserve the raisins for later. Whisk to combine, then sift the flour over the top and fold in with a spatula. Set aside.

5. Place the egg whites in a very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat the egg whites on medium speed until it looks foamy, about one minute. Add the salt, and continue to beat until it just begins to hold its shape (about two minutes), then gradually drizzle in the remaining sugar. When all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and whisk until stiff peaks form. Scoop out one-third of the egg-white mixture and fold into the egg-yolk batter to "loosen" it, then combine and fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter.

6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan or dish, then scatter the drained raisins on top. Place immediately into the preheated oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of the pancake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven – at this stage, it can sit at room temperature for up to three hours.

7. To serve, use two spoons to tear the Kaiserschmarrn into roughly 5cm pieces and set aside on a plate. Melt half of the remaining butter in the frying pan, add half of the pieces of Kaiser-schmarrn and toss. Cook gently until light golden brown, then transfer to a serving dish. Repeat with the remaining butter and pieces of Kaiserschmarrn and pile onto the serving dish. Sprinkle with the icing sugar and serve while still warm, putting the dish in the centre of the table and passing around pots of cherry or plum jam.

Find more of Helen Goh's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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