It’s the season for long, lazy breakfasts – one of my favourite things about December, and a big reason I hope for plenty of snow. Pancakes and waffles of all kinds, perhaps some cinnamon buns or æbleskiver – I skew toward things I don’t make on an average weekend, but still don’t always have the gumption to make cinnamon buns from scratch, even if I do plan ahead and have them ready to bake from the fridge or freezer. Enter Kaiserschmarrn – a torn or shredded pancake, also known as an Emperor’s Mess (see how it fits here?) – a puffy, eggy pancake you cook in a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven, chop or tear apart and then kind of scramble in the hot skillet with some butter, so they wind up crispy-edged and custardy in the middle. Because it’s one big pancake, it’s perfect to stick on a platter with a dish of preserves (or a drizzle of maple syrup), give everyone a fork and have them share while you snuggle on the couch and watch Christmas movies, or play a game, or whatever you love to do together at this time of year. With plenty of coffee.
By the way, the blueish box I photographed this on is the wooden box my Dad’s family of four filled with their things when they immigrated to Canada from Belgium in the early fifties. Cool, hey?
Traditionally, the soft-crispy pancake bits are dusted with sugar and served with plum, lingonberry or apple compote, but use what you have—I can attest they’re fantastic with raspberries and rhubarb that have been simmered into sauce with some sugar. It’s common to scatter a few booze-soaked raisins over the wet batter as the bottom sets, if you want to give that a try—and you could easily make a savoury, even cheesy, soufflé-like version to serve with saucy stews, curries or braised meats! I see this in the near future, topped with something I’ve braised in the leftover beer or red wine that’s currently filling up the fridge. Happy holidays, all!