This torn pancake with apple is an Austro-Bavarian specialty and translates as 'emperor’s mess'. There are many stories about its origins, but one goes that Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, the wife of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, was worried about her waistline, so instructed the court chef to cook lighter desserts. The cook concocted this sweet, but the empress rejected it as being too rich. The emperor, however, liked it so much, he ate his wife’s serving too.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (144 votes)


  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour 
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk 
  • 6 eggs, separated 
  • 160 g unsalted butter 
  • 2 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced 
  • icing sugar, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 180°C. Sift flour and ¼ tsp salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk milk and egg yolks in a bowl. Melt 50 g butter in a small saucepan and pour into well with milk mixture. Whisk until smooth.

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Fold through pancake batter in 3 batches until combined.

Heat 25 g butter in a 22 cm ovenproof non-stick or cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. Pour in pancake batter and cook for 3 minutes or until base is golden. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until almost set. Carefully turn over pancake (don’t worry if it breaks a little) and return to frying pan. Place pan over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes or until base is golden and just cooked through.

Turn pancake out onto a chopping board. Using 2 forks, tear pancake into pieces. Return pan over medium heat. Melt 60 g butter and add apples. Cook apples, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to high, add remaining 25 g butter and pancake pieces. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, for 2 minutes or until pieces are golden. Transfer to a platter and serve dusted with icing sugar.


As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 11, pg76.

Photography by John Laurie.