“With ‘Schmarren’ dough, you can really know if a woman has a heart.” (A very feminist friendly declaration made by the cookbook that inspired this recipe)
To celebrate my passion for comfort food, I’ll be launching a weekly food series that highlights the most lush and shamelessly decadent recipes collected on my travels and daily New York living: Jetsetter Comfort Food. When it comes to souvenirs, I always search for a decadent recipe wherever I go and incorporate it into entertaining friends & family in the USA (or, admittedly, indulging solo when missing Europe). First up: An authentic Kaiserschmarren recipe.
Austria has – at some point – become my creative refuge as writer. For a storyteller who needs everything to come with history, meaning, mystery or a good story, Austria is an endless feast.
Kaiserschmarren (or, Kaiserschmarrn) literally translates into “emperor’s mess” — and you bet there is a reason for that. Legend has it there once lived an Austrian king and queen who traveled through the Alps and tired from their long journey, stopped by a farmer’s hut for a warm meal. It wasn’t every day a king stopped by for a bite. The farmer was so nervous and attempted to make a simple pancake, but his shaky hands led to a shredded and broken version. In an attempt to win back presentation points, he topped it with sugar and plum jam. The king loved it. This is a beautiful example of a mistake which led to a greater outcome — in this case, one of Austria’s most beloved desserts and my go-to after a day of hiking or skiing in the Alps. Back in New York during the holidays, it’s a perfect and easy 15-minute treat to whip up for loved ones.
As I worked my way through the recipe for the first time (which came out of an Austrian cookbook given to me by my friends at Grunwald Resort), it was a romantic adventure within itself. Austrians are masters at improvising and are a notably intuitive, practical and no-fuss culture. This recipe was a reflection of that. The directions included something called a dag (a tablespoon plus a little), etwas Salz (something of salt, because be romantic and take risks), warm milk (but “not too warm”) and obscure directions that somehow worked out perfectly. Even the recipe was like magical riddle. That’s Austria.
I’ve tested it a million times, made a few adjustments and adapted this treat to American measurements for your next holiday party (you will be a famous alpine chef after this):
Back in the Alps, they often leave it in the hot skillet and break it apart (much like that nervous farmer); I choose to maintain this beautiful tradition. Don’t dare put maple syrup on it, my Americans. Traditionally the recipe includes raisins, but I passionately believe that they are the worst thing to happen to humanity…so I ditched them.