Omletten

Also known as Palatschinken, Omletten are the Austrian answer to the crêpe and the blintz. While this dish has been a traditional Christmas morning favorite in my family, it’s great for any warm-hearted occasion – Easter included.

I’m sure that other folks know this dish under the name of Pfannkuchen or Eierkuchen. The fact is there are many different names, which vary by region within German-speaking Europe (Deutscher Sprachraum). Most Austrians don’t even use the word Omletten (which is what Tiroleans say) but rather the Slavic loan word Palatschinken. There is a lot of dialectical differentiation in the various regions within Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The University of Augsburg Department of German Language and Literature Studies (Germanistik) has produced great isogloss maps, including this one (which shows the multiple words for this delicious Germanic pancake).

There are many Omletten recipes available, given the many different forms of the dish, that I’m sure would suit most anyone’s taste. However, I find a minimalist approach sufficient because slight adjustments will allow you to adapt it to your own circumstantial needs. The basic recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 – 2.5 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter / oil for frying

Other things you’ll need to dress the omletten will be some sort of jam, preserve or compote, and confectioner’s sugar. It’s also good with butter and honey, melted chocolate, or Nutella.

Put the flour in a big bowl with the two cups of milk. Separate the yolks from the whites of all four eggs, adding the yolks to the big bowl and saving the whites separately. Throw your pinch of salt in the big bowl. Beat your egg whites until they are firm. Mix everything that’s in the big bowl until it’s smooth and then fold in the egg whites.

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This method of folding in the beaten egg whites is common to a lot of delicious Austrian goodies (including the Sacher Torte and Salzburger Nockerln). In this case, it gives the Omletten their puffy, light texture. However, it does have a tendency to thicken the batter, so keep some milk handy for thinning if it comes out too thick on the pan.

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