Kaiserschmarrn is the German version of a fluffy pancake, traditionally served shredded along with applesauce. We made our variation healthier, by using oatmeal and raw sugar, instead of refined flour and sugar.
It’s a great recipe to make with kids as it doesn’t involve any cooking on stove top. Whip up the ingredients, using a hand/stand mixer and throw into an oven. To make the pancake fluffy, you will need to beat the egg whites separately. My kids had fun doing the invert bowl test to check if the eggs were beaten enough.
Kaiserschmarrn, which literally translates as ’emperor’s mess’ has a legend behind it. The dish has its origin in Austria. It is believed that the Emperor Franz Joseph’s wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria was obsessed with maintaining a minimal waistline. The Empress Elisabeth directed the royal chef to prepare only light desserts for her. Upon being presented with this dessert, she found it too rich and refused to eat it. The aggravated Francis Joseph joked, “Now let me see what ‘Schmarren’ (mess) our chef has cooked up.” It apparently met his approval as he finished his and even his wife’s serving.
We have our own memories associated with Kaiserschmarrn. Having lived in Munich for many years, we have eaten Kaiserschmarrn at almost every Bavarian restaurant. But we had one favorite place, which was beautifully located near a small lake and served the best Kaiserschmarrn in town. It was a place where we used to treat ourselves for special occasions or to de-stress from time to time. We still go there, whenever we visit Munich.
Making Kaiserschmarrn is not only a way to remember Munich, where both my sons were born. It is also a nice bonding activity with the kids as we love making it together. We wanted to find a healthier version, which tasted as good as the original one. We found that oatmeal works best as a replacement for refined flour for this recipe. We also limit the amount of butter and raw sugar, omit the powdered sugar on top and serve it with applesauce with no added sugar. We also like to add some slivered almonds and raisins. And dare we say that our healthy version of Kaiserschmarrn tastes just as good as the one in Munich. We sometimes still miss the ice cream on the side though, and add it for a very special treat.
What ingredients will you need?
- Eggs– separated into whites and yolks: We beat the whites separately to incorporate air bubbles into our batter. This will make our pancake fluffy and light.
- Oatmeal: We used a grinder to turn oat-flakes into a fine powder. We used organic wholegrain oat flakes (bio vollkorn Haferflocken-zart). You can easily find them at any grocery store in the cereal aisle.
- Raw Sugar: (Rohrzucker) We add raw, unprocessed sugar to our batter. Because the amount is limited, this does not alter with the taste. We use bio vollrohrzucker. You can find it at DM, Alnatura, Edeka, Rewe etc.
- Butter: Use unsalted, melted butter so that it mixes evenly and easily into the batter.
- Baking Powder: You can use any brand. It is available by the name Backpulver in Germany.
- Salt: Any regular, fine grain salt would do.
- Vanilla: We like to use fresh vanilla. It gives a very nice flavor. We buy Vanille-Mühle which makes it easier to grind fresh vanilla pods. You can replace it with vanilla extract or use the seeds of one vanilla pod.
- Slivered Almonds: Easily available in Germany at any grocery store by the name Mandeln ‘gehobelt’.
- Raisins: We use dark raisins for our recipe, available by the name Rosinen in Germany at any grocery store. They are usually stored near the cake aisle.
Gluten-free Kaiserschmarrn (German Pancake)
- Stand mixer/ Hand mixer
- Oven safe skillet- 16 cm
- 3 medium eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup oatmeal (see notes below on how to make it)
- 2 Tbsp raw sugar/ brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated vanilla (substitute: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup applesauce (for serving) (we prefer without added sugar)
- some extra slivered almonds and raisins for garnishing
- Set the oven to preheat at 180° Celsius.
- Add the egg whites and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl. Beat until stiff peaks are formed. This will take between 3-4 minutes. A good way to check if the eggs are beaten enough is to invert the bowl and nothing should fall off. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
- Now, add the egg yolks, oatmeal, raw/brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and baking powder into the mixing bowl. Beat until well combined, for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the beaten egg whites into the mixture and gently fold in. Be careful not to knock the air bubbles out to keep the batter fluffy.
- Add the slivered almonds and raisins and fold in until just combined.
- Transfer to an oven safe skillet and bake on the middle rack at 180° Celsius for 20-25 minutes.
- When the crust looks golden, take the pan out of the oven.
- Rest for a few minutes. Tear the kaiserschmarrn into uneven pieces.
- Add some extra slivered almonds and raisins and serve with applesauce.
- To make the oatmeal, simply grind oat flakes into a fine powder using a grinder. We used bio vollkorn-Haferflocken zart for our recipe.
- You can top the Kaiserschmarrn with some powdered sugar and serve it with plum sauce, ice cream or any other marmalade/compote of your choice.
- We used a small, 16 cm skillet to make a portion for 2 persons. If you are using a bigger skillet, you can double the quantity of every ingredient.
Looking for more breakfast inspirations? The following recipes might interest you.