Whilst reviewing, eating, talking about Kaiserschmarrn, the conversations always open up personal stories – your mother’s treasured recipe that regularly fed all eleven hungry mouths, your uncle’s restaurant’s secret ingredient that makes his dish a cut above the rest – these are the stories that lead you to believe that the Kaiserschmarrn sat in front of your drooling mouth, is bursting at the seams with memories, each piece crafted with loving labour.
What creativity do we have to give to this delectable dish? Always talking about it creates an appetite, so much so, that a group of us decided to address our own Kaiserschmarrn mastery. The Kaiserschmarrn Challenge was born.
Take six people (and note, one of whom was a vegan!), and three teams. The aim: to identify what each one of us desired to bring to the Kaiserschmarrn – what was important, what we aspired the dish to be…and to achieve just that. Three dishes were created, with the pairs making combining towards the goal. We would then all sample intensely, and explore each others creations.
Team one. Team vegan. These guys had it tough from the outset, but a brief research (thanks Google) provided the necessary substitutes. The key? Alpro Soya Yoghurt. The outcome: amazing gooey texture, a smooth vanilla taste and caramelized sugar coated pieces. Delicious.
Team two. The team with Austrian blood, and a recipe that had been passed down the generations. The dish lived up to the rumours, it tasted fluffy but had plenty of consistency and alpine-hut-worthy flavour. The key? Tossing in toasted almond flakes along with the raisins for texture contrast, and bitter sweet crunch. The outcome: whatever an ‘authentic’ tasting dish is, this was it, and with a modern almond twist so it lingered longer.
Team three. The team with obscure dreams of sparkles, glitter, and a somehow making cute Kaiserschmarrn. The key? Red food coloring and sprinkles. The outcome: A somewhat Leberkäse-like shade of pink (with a scarily similar texture too) but that managed to combine that perfect note of vanilla, along with seductively sticky sugar and fresh’n’firm consistency. Somehow strange but mesmerizing.
So who was the winner? There is no winner. Yes, you can talk and debate, improve and refine. But at the end of the challenge the Kaiserschmarrn speaks for itself, and triumphs. It stimulates curiosity of it’s creator, paints a picture to reveal the intention at the moment those first ingredients merged. It somehow captures the ingredients of people, places and processes, combines them with a balance of recollection and experimentation, and binds to form a memory on a dish. That tastes so incredibly good.