food with sam man­ner­ing

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If you are lucky enough to lay your hands on the last of sum­mer’s plums, make the most of them with this em­peror-wor­thy dessert.

The plums are still good. Af­ter a sea­son that has been more than a lit­tle all over the place, I say we ought to make the most of them. (Though you can use any sort of stone fruit, re­ally, in both of th­ese recipes.) Kais­er­schmarrn will also sit nicely against pear, ap­ple, poached quince. A de­cent berry or fruit jam will be just as de­li­cious, or even some­times I’ll use morello cher­ries pre­pared as below.

Kais­er­schmarrn trans­lates lit­er­ally as “Em­peror’s Mess”, which makes me love it even more. Sev­eral sto­ries are as­so­ci­ated with its origins, the most bu­colic (and least be­liev­able) of which in­volved Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian Em­peror Franz Josef and his wife stop­ping by a farmer’s house for lunch as they trav­elled through the Aus­trian Alps. Ap­par­ently the poor farmer was be­side him­self with nerves and made a com­plete mess of his sweet omelette, so he show­ered it with ic­ing sugar and plums. The Em­peror was so taken with the dish that he took it back to Vi­enna. This is all prob­a­bly non­sense, but I find it charm­ing. You’ll find this dessert served through­out much of Aus­tria and Ger­many. It goes down es­pe­cially well with a blob of ice­cream.


Serves 4-6 Prep time: 10 min­utes / Cook time: 51 min­utes ¼ cup sugar 1 cup flour Pinch of salt 1 cup milk 5 eggs ½ tsp vanilla essence 3 tbsp rum 50g but­ter, melted 4 plums, sliced (or use ap­ple, pear or quince) 4 tbsp brown sugar Zest of 1 lemon Ic­ing sugar, to serve Cream, to serve In a large mix­ing bowl, com­bine the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the milk, eggs, vanilla essence and 1 ta­ble­spoon of rum. Leave to stand for a minute while you work on the plums.

In a saucepan, add a lit­tle of the melted but­ter, fol­lowed by the sliced plums and 2 ta­ble­spoons of the brown sugar. Al­low to bub­ble up and cook down for sev­eral min­utes un­til the plums are be­gin­ning to soften, then add the re­main­ing rum and let it cook off and re­duce. Re­move from the heat and set aside.

In a large fry­ing pan or skil­let over a mod­er­ate-low heat, add about half of the melted but­ter and let it heat up. Pour in the bat­ter and let it gen­tly cook for sev­eral min­utes un­til it is golden brown and cooked on one side. Flip and cook for sev­eral min­utes on the other side. It doesn’t mat­ter a jot if you’re messy about this.

Once the pan­cake is cooked, tear up us­ing two forks or some tongs, then bring the heat up a lit­tle, add the rest of the but­ter and the rest of the sugar. Toss ev­ery­thing to­gether to let the sugar caramelise and melt into the shred­ded bits of pan­cake.

Once ev­ery­thing is nicely caramelised (take care not to let it burn), re­move from the heat, trans­fer to a plat­ter and then scat­ter the plums and juice over the top. Zest over the lemon, dust with ic­ing sugar, and serve im­me­di­ately with cream on the side.

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