Kaiserschmarrn (Emperor’s Nonsense)

Although Kaiserschmarrn translates to Emperor’s nonsense, it’s really just a thick tasty pancake cut up into lots of pieces and then crisped up in the pan and served with apple sauce or plum compote. This is a great weekend breakfast if you want something a little different from the standard pancake.

The trick to a good Kaiserschmarrn is having lots of nice crispy edges contrasting with the soft pillowy inside. As these pancakes don’t contain any raising agent it is important to beat lots of air into the egg yolks and egg whites and then to very gently combine them so you get maximum fluffiness.

I have spent quite a number of weekends experimenting with this recipe, for instance, although throwing the raisins into the pan after adding the batter results in a better distribution, every time I did this I ended up with the very distinctive deflated top layer in the pancake. I also took the whole pancake and cut up the pancake into nice even pieces with a serrated knife, it did look pretty, but then the end result did not have anywhere enough texture that you get from the haphazard cutting with a spatula or plastic bench scraper as I now do (do not let your OCD ruin your pancake like I did with a batch). I have also noticed a lot of recipes call for flipping the pancake over, rather than finishing in the oven like I do. With my superb coordination, I just feel that the oven method is a much safer bet for me to avoid imminent heartbreaking disaster, but if flipping a giant pancakes is something that rubs your Buddha, that is definitely something that can be done.

One last point, what you decide to serve the Kaiserschmarrn with will also make a big difference. We usually go with a store-bought sugar-free apple sauce, or if I am feeling super fancy I will cut up a few apples and cook them down in a pan while I’m doing everything else then give them a quick buzz with the stick blender (skin on) to make a puree. It is also quite traditional to serve this with a plum compote, although admittedly I have never tried this, but my point being, don’t skimp on a decent something to serve your Kaiserschmarrn with, it makes a difference! 

Although it is traditional to eat this in a little hut in the Alps during a hike, it is definitely acceptable to enjoy this in the comfort of your own home, a giant plate of ugly shredded goodness to tuck into. Enjoy!

Kaiserschmarrn (Emperor’s Nonsense)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Alpine
Servings 2


  • 50 g Sultanas
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Rum or water
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 125 g Flour
  • 250 ml Milk
  • 25 g Butter
  • 3 Egg whites
  • Butter for frying
  • 2 tsp Sugar

For serving

  • Powdered sugar to dust
  • 1 jar Apple sauce


  • Soak sultanas in the rum or water for 15 minutes. 
  • While they are soaking, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, salt and vanilla essence until it looks pale and creamy. 
  • Once this is creamed, add the flour and milk and mix until you have a smooth batter. 
  • Stir in the melted butter and then let the batter rest for about half an hour.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then gently fold this into the rested batter until just combined. 
  • Drain the sultanas and then gently mix these into the batter.
  • Preheat your oven grill and melt some butter into a medium size frying pan over medium heat. 
  • Give the batter a stir (so the sultanas are all not sitting at the bottom) and then pour into the frying pan. Your batter should be about 1-2 cm deep. 
  • After about 5 minutes transfer the pan into the middle of the oven under the grill to finish cooking the pancake through.
  • After a few minutes the top of the pancake is a nice golden brown, and the pancake shouldn’t wobble at all if you shake the pan. Take it out the oven and then cut the pancake up into bite size chunks with your spatula (or use whatever you like to turn it into nonsense). 
  • Put the pan back on a medium heat and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of sugar over the pancake pieces. Move the pieces of pancake around in the pan with your spatula to coat them in the sugar and crisp them up.
  • When the pieces of pancake look nice and golden and crispy transfer to a plate and dust with the powdered sugar. Serve with a side of apple sauce and dig in while it’s still warm! 


Adapted from Chefkoch
Keyword Pancake

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