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September 13, 2010
Pauline used to make Smarni (pronounced “shmarni” or “shmori”) as a dessert for her five children when they were growing up on the farm.  Called Kaiserschmarren (and schmarrn) in Austria, translated it means mishmash, fluff, nonsense and even a  swear word.  Smarni also makes an appearance at breakfast and is served as a fast meal at mountainside taverns and restaurants in the Alps.
One of the stories about the origin of Smarni is that in the 1800’s the beautiful Empress Elizabeth, obsessed with her waistline, was served a bit of pancake, picked at her plate, and then wouldn’t finish it. Her husband, the Emperor Franz Joseph, became frustrated and said, “What is this bit of schmarrn chef cooked up?” and then gobbled it up himself.  From them on, scrambled pancake was called Schmarrn across the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The batter is similar to that of palacinky (pancakes), but is usually made with separated eggs instead of with whole.  And, while cooking the thin pancake, the golden batter is shredded with a fork, so that the result is a plateful of golden, crusty bits of shredded, carmelized pancake. It’s then served sprinkled with sugar (granulated or powder), with a side of fruit compote made of pears, cherries or apricots or stewed peaches, plums or other sweetened fruit.  It reminds me of those elephant ears you get at fall fairs.

Serves 4.


  • 2/3 cup flour, sifted
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter, for frying
  • 1/2 cup ground sugar, for dusting, or powered sugar


  1. Mix flour, egg yolks, salt, teaspoon of sugar and milk until well mixed.
  2. Beat eggs whites until stiff, and fold into yolk batter. If you’re in a hurry, use whole eggs and skip this step.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp butter into the frying pan.
  4. Pour half the batter into the pan and cook as you would a pancake.
  5. As it cooks, shred the cooking pancake with a fork.
  6. Split the smarni in half and dust with ground sugar (Pauline used to toss the sugar in with the shredded pancake in the frying pan, to let it crystallize a bit).
  7. Repeat for the other half of the batter to make a another batch.
  8. Serve with a side of apple sauce, stewed fruits, jam or fruit compote, as suggested above.  Me, I prefer my Smarni served with granulated sugar and a squeeze of lemon on top.

It sounds so delicious that I think I will surprise Pauline’s great granddaughter, Miss Katerina, and make it for her breakfast today.  I’ll let you know her reaction.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2010 12:33 am

    I want to try this 🙂 Looks and sounds good. New way of making pancakes 🙂

  2. Mary Milec permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:36 pm

    Looks good. How did it turn out?

    • September 14, 2010 9:23 am

      She liked it! When forced to describe it in one word, she exclaimed, “great.” I think her favorite part was the sugar.

  3. Anita permalink
    October 3, 2010 6:51 pm

    Just catching up on your blog – you are churning out information at a tremendous pace. How fascinating – especially for those in your family or of similar descent but also for folks like me.
    Similarities across ethnic lines exist – in our family we call this this dish ruhre and eat it with watermelon.

  4. October 3, 2010 7:45 pm

    Hi Anita, I will have to try this with watermelon next summer – Kit would love that too.

    I’m afraid I am writing quite a bit, aren’t I? I am really enjoying the process of tracing my family through time and place, and weaving together their history with that of the world. I think it helps me figure out how I got to be who I am, or what I am made of.


  5. Lidija permalink
    October 7, 2010 8:14 am

    How did I miss this post and recipe??? I LOVE smare (that’s how we call it). My mum makes it without separating the eggs, which makes them a bit firmer. I grew up on these (they make good breakfast, too) and I love them just generously dusted with sugar (if you do this in a pan it caramelise slightly which is a bonus). I do not like it served with anything wet, such as compote or sauce (to avoid smare turning soggy), but I will try it with rosted flaked almonds. A while ago I watched Delia Smith (a famous British cook-do you know her) making this with dried morello cherries. Yum.

    • October 7, 2010 3:16 pm

      Never heard of Delia Smith. The only British ones I know are Nigella and The Two Fat Ladies. Oh, and Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. Delia’s recipe sounds great! My Aunt Diane, who gave me this recipe, also said she loved it when her mom put the sugar in the pan and it was carmelized. Will have to try this.

      • Lidija permalink
        October 8, 2010 3:55 am

        Delia is old school cook; predecessor (is that how you spell it?) of all those you mention. 🙂 Classic cooking is her style. I must make some smare, I would gladly use your recipe but try as I might I can not remember how big is an American measure cup- 3 eggs seems just right, I ahve seen recipes calling for 6…

      • October 9, 2010 9:45 am

        Hi Lidija, here’s a link to measurement equivalents:

        With six eggs, it would be more omlet like, wouldn’t it.

  6. Lidija permalink
    October 9, 2010 2:53 pm

    Thanks, I have saved the link in the favourites-it will come handy. The recipes with six eggs use more flour accordingly, I just think it makes huge amount of schmarrn-quantity made with three is more sensible. 🙂

  7. Lara permalink
    February 12, 2013 5:18 pm

    It’s interesting that I just found this because a couple of day ago I tried to find the perfect recipe for Smarni and actually translated from German and I didn’t get the result I hoped for. We ate everything anyway 🙂 I’ll try your recipe next time. Sounds like the thing we ate in Austria.

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