FoodDiscover the delight of making Kaiserschmarrn, Austria's imperial dessert

Discover the delight of making Kaiserschmarrn, Austria's imperial dessert

Emperor's omelet sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Emperor's omelet sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Angelika Heine

6:59 AM EDT, March 23, 2024

Kaiserschmarrn, also known as the emperor's omelet, is a beloved Austrian dessert that doubles as an elegant breakfast option. Its fluffy, soufflé-like texture ensures that every bite melts delightfully in your mouth. Fortunately, this dish is simple to prepare at home, and you likely already have most of the required ingredients in your pantry.

In Austria, while traditionally enjoyed as a dessert, there's no rule against serving it for a leisurely Saturday breakfast. The emperor's omelet was concocted in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph I, a known sweets connoisseur. Its extraordinarily soft and fluffy texture closely recalls a refined soufflé. Impressively, it can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes. But how exactly do you make it?

The emperor's omelet: a dessert from the royal court

Kaiserschmarrn, or the emperor's omelet, originated in 1832. It was a signature offering at the imperial-royal confectionery Zauner, acclaimed for its desserts and sweet pastries. Emperor Franz Joseph I was a frequent patron, and his sweet tooth made the emperor's omelet one of his preferred treats.

For years, the emperor's omelet has been celebrated as a staple of traditional Austrian cuisine, often as a main dish. It's remarkably simple to make, requiring only milk, wheat flour, and eggs. The batter is cooked gently in a pan under cover until fluffy. Toward the end of cooking, the omelet is shredded into smaller pieces and sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving. Traditionally, Austrians enjoy it with raisins, rum-soaked raisins, or stewed apples, though you can easily substitute any fruit or your favorite jam.

The emperor's omelet — a recipe guide

Ingredients:

  • 4.4 ounces of wheat flour,
  • 1/2 cup of milk,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder,
  • 2 tablespoons of butter,
  • Powdered sugar,
  • Options: raisins, berries, seasonal fruit, your favorite jam, or dulce de leche.

Preparation:

  1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Mix the yolks with milk and whip the whites until stiff peaks form. If needed, add a pinch of salt or a few drops of lemon juice to help the whites stiffen.
  2. Mix the sifted flour with the yolks. Add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and the baking powder. Stir everything together until smooth. Gently fold the whipped egg whites with a silicone spatula until combined.
  3. Heat a pan over low flame and melt the butter. Pour in the batter and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes. After flipping the omelet, tear it into bite-sized pieces and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Once done, sprinkle the omelet with powdered sugar and serve with seasonal fruit or other flavored accompaniments.
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