October 25, 2013 7:01 pm

The Paris baker: kaiserschmarren, or torn Austrian pancake

‘Imperfect pancakes were rejected by the Austrian emperor – but lesser mortals needn’t do the same’
Torn Austrian Pancake with blueberry compote©Roberto Frankenberg

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This thick pancake from Austria, probably first made around the turn of the 20th century, is a warming dessert that can also be served for tea or breakfast. It is filling, and could be a meal in itself.

Its name translates to Emperor’s Mess – the rejects of pancakes made for Franz Joseph I, the story goes, went to his servants instead.

I love this dessert as the only sweetness comes from the compote of fruit and sifted icing sugar dusted on top, so you can adjust the sugar content yourself. For this recipe I have used a blueberry compote but plums, apple purée or freshly sugared strawberries work just as well. And if you are out of fruit, your favourite pot of jam is perfect too.

Rose Carrarini is co-owner of Rose Bakery in Paris and author of ‘Breakfast, Lunch, Tea’ (Phaidon, £19.95)

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Ingredients (Serves 3)

125g sifted flour

pinch salt

175ml milk

4 large eggs, separated

40g melted butter

1 tbs rum

Put the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the milk, egg yolks, rum and melted butter. Whisk till smooth. Cover bowl and leave to rest for about 1 hour.

Just before making the pancakes, beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the pancakes will turn dry and crumbly. Fold the egg whites carefully into the batter in two batches. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Put a knob of butter into the pan and pour some of the mix into it. It should be about 1cm thick. Cook over a slow to medium heat until golden underneath. Flip the pancake over, and don’t worry if it breaks a bit. Continue cooking till the pancake is slightly golden underneath. Now take two forks and break up the pancake into roughly 4cm pieces. Continue cooking till the pieces are golden all over. Place on the serving plate and dust with the icing sugar. Serve with the compote on the side.

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Blueberry compote

250g blueberries

50ml water or lemon juice

50g sugar

Heat the above until the blueberries soften and the colour darkens. Take off the heat and cool.

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