food with sam mannering
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.