You will find this dessert while skiing in the Dolomites. Along the trails there are little restaurants, gathering places called “baite” (singular, “baita”), and most of them offer delicious, restorative après-ski food. The skiing experience in the Alps is about the snow, the slopes, and the scenery, but it is just as much about the food. I am no great skier, but I know that my family plan their route according to the baita they will reach for lunch or a snack. The baite do not offer chips, hamburgers, or frankfurters. Instead, local chefs cook the traditional winter fare of the mountains. This rendition of Kaiserschmarrn is one of the favorite baita treats of my grandchildren Lorenzo and Julia. It is a fluffy, light, eggy pancake topped with jam—perfect to warm a cold skier.
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup rum
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 cup apricot jam
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Put the raisins in a small bowl, and pour the rum over them. Let them soak while you make the pancake. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until they’re foamy. Increase the speed to high, and stream in 6 tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk them to form soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Set them aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with a pinch of salt to break them up. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, and orange zest until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the flour just until it’s smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. Fold in about a third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula to lighten the batter; then fold in the remaining whites, taking care to keep the batter light by not overmixing.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush with a little of the remaining melted butter. Pour in the batter. Drain the raisins, reserving any excess rum, and scatter the raisins over the top of the batter. Cook until the edges begin to set, 2 to 3 minutes; then bake until they’re puffed and golden and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes.
Transfer the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Use a big offset spatula to cut or break the pancake into cubes. Flip them to loosen them up; then drizzle them with the remaining melted butter and sugar. Cook and toss until the edges of the cubes are caramelized and golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
Warm the jam with the reserved rum in a small skillet over low heat, and stir this to combine. Divide the Kaiserschmarrn among serving plates, dust them with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle with the jam sauce, and serve.