a few weeks ago I found myself in Munich with a few hours to while away until the train which would take me on the further leg of my journey. I was strolling along when my eye caught on the signboard of the Hundsstüberl inn, boasting Ruritanian specialties. One does not often get a chance to try food from this little country. Intrigued, I stepped through the door.
Smirking to myself at the probable typo in the menu, I decided to try the „Königsschmarrn mit Orangenkomplott*“. It is a sweet, pancake-like dish, said to have been created in the nineteenth century by the palace chefs at Strelsau (the capital of Ruritania) to commemorate the coronation of the country`s monarch.
Dear reader, it was delicious. And today, we shall try to recreate it.
There is a long railway journey ahead of me, a glass of brandy to my hand, and a heavily and obscenely annotated copy of the Rassendyll manuscript by my side. I intend to use them all to tell the truth.
To two tablespoons of chopped candied orange peel add about 100 ml of brandy, cover and leave to steep for a few hours.
„Suppose we wrong him?“ Hentzau suggested. He was peeling an orange as he spoke, its fresh, bright perfume an odd contrast to the heavy stone walls and general atmosphere of plotting.
Peel two oranges and cut them into segments.
Bring 300 ml of red wine to a boil with a cinammon stick, a few star anise and cardamon pods and some cloves. Take the pot of the heat and stir in two tablespoons of honey. Add the orange segments to the wine mixture, cover and let it marinade for a few hours.
Thereafter, take the orange out, strain out the spices and heat the wine mixture at a low temperature (the liquid should be steaming not bubbling) until it reduces to a thicker syrup.
Now, to make the Schmarrn itself. Take three eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the egg-whites until they form stiff peaks. Add a heaped teaspoon of sugar and half of a packet of vanilla sugar to the yolks, and beat until frothy. Prepare 250 ml of milk and 125 g of flour. Mix in a few spoons of flour into the yolk mixture followed by a splash of milk.
Keep adding the flour and milk bit by bit until both are used up.
Stir in 25 g of butter (melted).
Carefully fold in the beaten egg-whites, until no egg-white flakes are visible in the batter anymore. Strain the candied orange peel pieces from the brandy and mix them into the batter.
Melt some butter in a frying pan (medium heat) and ladle in about half of the batter (this recipe makes two portions) in an about 1 cm thick layer.
When the bottom of the pancake turns golden brown and the top starts to firm up, divide the pancake into quarters and flip them.
Fry until golden brown, then chop the pancake into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with a heaped tablespoon of sugar and continue frying, stirring occasionally, until the sugar caramelizes.
Transfer the pancake pieces to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. (It resembles the snowy peaks of the Ruritanian mountains a little, doesn’t it?)
Add the marinaded orange segments and drizzle them with the red wine syrup and enjoy.
Yours, with regal red regards,
*King’s nonsense with an orange plot
The Königsschmarrn is based on this recipe for Kaiserschmarrn.
Author: KJ Charles
Title: The Henchmen of Zenda
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