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Kaiserschmarrn ("Kaiser", meaning "Emperor" and "Schmarrn" is "Mishmash" in Austrian German) is one of the best known Austrian desserts, popular in the former Austria–Hungary as well as in Bavaria. In Hungary it is called "császármorzsa" or simply "smarni"[1]. The translation of Kaiserschmarrn has generated some etymological debate. While “Kaiser” is literally translatable (as Emperor), the same cannot be said for “Schmarrn”. “Schmarrn” has been translated as a mishmash, a mess, crumbs, a trifle, a nonsense, a fluff, or even as a mild expletive.
Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter with flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, baked in butter. Kaiserschmarrn can be prepared in different ways. When making Kaiserschmarrn the eggwhites usually are separated from the yolk and beaten until stiff, then the flour, the yolks mixed with sugar and the other ingredients are added, including nuts, cherries, plums, apple jam, or small pieces of apple, or caramelized raisins and chopped almonds. The pancake is split into pieces while frying, shredded after preparation and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar, served hot with apple or plum sauce or various fruit compotes, including plum, lingonberry, strawberry, or apple. Kaiserschmarrn is eaten like a dessert, or it can also be eaten for lunch at tourist places like mountainside restaurants and taverns in the Austrian alps, as a quite filling meal.
It is generally agreed that the dish was first prepared for the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I (1830–1916). There are several stories. One apocryphal story involves the Emperor and his wife, Elisabeth of Bavaria, of the House of Wittelsbach. Obsessed with maintaining a minimal waistline, the Empress Elisabeth directed the royal chef to prepare only light desserts for her, much to the consternation and annoyance of her notoriously austere husband.
Upon being presented with the chef’s confection, she found it too rich and refused to eat it. The exasperated Francis Joseph quipped, “Now let me see what "Schmarrn" our chef has cooked up”. It apparently met his approval as he finished his and even his wife’s serving. Thereafter, the dessert was called Kaiserschmarrn across the Empire.

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Additional Photos by Csaba Witz (csabagaba) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 617 W: 172 N: 1499] (7018)
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