Meet in Your Kitchen | Kristiane’s Kaiserschmarrn, Pars and Pralinés

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“I thought I wasn’t allowed to do something that was different from what I had learned. I felt trapped in the traditional framework of the patisserie. I was very nervous to dive into a new scene where I felt I didn’t belong to.” – Kristiane Kegelmann

Whenever we create something we use our senses. No matter if it’s about the arts or crafts, we see, we feel, we smell, and when it comes to food, we also use our taste. Kristiane Kegelmann loves working with the whole sensory spectrum, in her art and in the food she creates – and especially when they both merge.

During her early years as a pastry chef in Vienna, at the traditional Demel confectionery founded in 1786, Kristiane often pushed the boundaries of her craft. Although the budgets for customized cakes, torten, and gateaux were often almost bottomless, the freedom, the expectation of how a sweet creation should look like was limited. In size larger than herself, the costs sometimes reaching the price of a small car, yet her creativity was forced to stay within a certain range, the rigid range of the classic patisserie, of its craft and creations, defined over hundreds of years.

There was no tolerance when her aesthetic feeling, and her curiosity, left the frilly cream toppings and sugary ruffles and roses behind. Kristiane likes cubistic shapes reminding of the concrete architecture of the 60s and 70s, of brutalism, Le Corbusier and Gottfried Böhm, or the angular shapes of Daniel Libeskind’s buildings. Her approach is far from sweet, cute, and superficially pleasing. Her aesthetic is definitely challenging for the stubborn pastry traditionalist.

It was only through the arts that she felt able to free herself, to go beyond her own expectations in her craft. Working with an Austrian sculptor, experimenting with architectural forms and structures, combining edible and non-organic material both in her art and in her pastries and chocolates, and in the end leaving Vienna to move to Berlin, were the necessary steps to become the artist and pâtissière she wanted to be.

“Chocolate allowed me to fill a shape with a surprise. I felt, seeing that this is what I’m good at, I’m allowed to turn it into art.” – Kristiane Kegelmann

Growing up in Munich in a family where food in general, but each ingredient in particular, was given a lot of attention, a huge effort was made to strive for quality and track the origin of the products that ended up in her mother’s kitchen. Kristiane knew about buckwheat – and wasn’t particularly fond of it – when the other kids were still munching on soft wheat bread sandwiches with flappy cheese. Her sense for flavors, for quality, started to become more and more refined even before she became aware of it.

Arriving Berlin in 2015, all of a sudden Kristiane had all the freedom, and the space, to create art and food according to her own ideas. Some of her works are edible, like her chocolates and pralinés, some aren’t, which turned into a new conflict: where are the two disciplines interwoven, where shouldn’t they, where does one start and the other one end? It’s an ongoing process and the price you pay for creative freedom.

“In our traditional food, we used to be much closer to the original produce than we are today. It’s a process of simplification, of industrialization.” – Kristiane Kegelmann

At least at her pars pralinés shop, you can eat everything the pastry chef puts in front of you – and that is spectacular. Kristiane puts the same attention into her sweet creations’ fillings as she puts into their shapes and (natural) coloring. Once you bite into the delicate chocolate shell, you might be surprised by a fragile crunchy dill flower, or pear combined with sesame – which is a fantastic combination. Hops and lavender also go very well together, and a classic hazelnut praliné impresses with the intense, pure taste of hazelnuts that come from Kristiane’s home region, from Bavaria.

We would have loved to share a praliné recipe with you but unfortunately, the preparation is too complex, so instead we went for a very comforting Austrian breakfast/ brunch/ teatime/ dessert classic: kaiserschmarrn – a torn pancake – with hazelnuts and apple purée.

The podcast episode with Kristiane Kegelmann is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Kristiane on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Kaiserschmarrn with Hazelnuts and Apple Purée

by Kristiane Kegelmann / pars

Kristiane uses her own pure hazelnut spread (Nussmus) for serving, which you can buy online from her shop, but you can of course replace it with any other quality hazelnut spread (although hers is particularly delicious!).

She refines the apple purée with cherry blossom sugar (fresh cherry flowers mixed with sugar and stored in a jar, it’s divine!) but you can also use regular sugar.

Serves 4

For the cherry blossom sugar (optional)

  • 1kg / 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 handful fresh cherry blossoms

Combine the sugar and cherry blossoms, rubbing the sugar and blossoms with your hands to intensify the flavor, and store in a large jar.

For the apple purée

  • 50g / 1/4 cup cherry blossom sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 4 medium, sour, firm apples, cored and cut into small pieces (don’t peel the apples)

In a large pan, caramelize the sugar over medium heat then add the apple juice and stir until the caramel dissolves. Add the apples and cook until soft then sweeten with sugar to taste. Using a blender or a blender stick, purée the apples until smooth. If you prefer the apple purée a bit thicker, transfer it to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches the desired texture.

For the kaiserschmarrn

  • 1 ounce / 25g whole hazelnuts with skin
  • 4 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 30g / 2 generous tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 350ml / 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 160g / 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Unsalted butter, to cook the kaiserschmarrn
  • About 4 tablespoons hazelnut spread, whipped until soft, for serving
  • 1-2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for serving

In a medium pan, roast the hazelnuts, stirring constantly, over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until fragrant; let them cool for a few minutes. Using your hands, rub the skin off the hazelnuts then chop them roughly and set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and salt for a few minutes until stiff then transfer to a large bowl and whisk the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until light yellow and creamy. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold 1/3 of the milk into the egg yolk mixture, followed by 1/3 of the flour. Repeat with the remaining milk and flour, folding until combined, then gently fold the egg white into the batter just until combined.

In a large pan, heat a generous tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat, add half the batter, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for a few minutes or until the bottom of the pancake is golden. Cut the pancake into 4 pieces, add a little more butter to the pan, then flip each piece and cook until the bottom is golden. Using 2 forks or spatulas, tear the pancake into chunky pieces. Sprinkle with a little sugar, add a bit more butter if necessary, and cook the torn pancake, stirring, for a few more minutes or until golden brown then transfer to a large platter, cover, and cook the remaining batter in the same way.

Divide the kaiserschmarrn between 4 plates, sprinkle with the hazelnuts, drizzle with the hazelnut spread, and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Add a dollop of the apple purée and serve immediately. Enjoy!