A few weeks ago, we invited some guests for coffee and cake. Although I had a few ideas about what I could bake, I gave my husband a chance to choose something he would like to eat. He chose Linzer Torte.
If you are wondering why he specifically wanted the Austrian classic, the explanation is quite easy. Firstly, my husband is half Austrian, and he has a weak spot for food from that part of Europe. The second reason is quite sad. Although we visit Austria once per year, we haven’t had a great Austrian cake for ages. The older members of the family don’t bake anymore, and the younger – don’t bake at all. So once we asked if they could buy us some excellent cakes. To our surprise, we received… doughnuts, tiramisu and pastries! They were delicious, but they were hardly the Austrian classics we expected.
When we talked to someone else about it, we found out that the last great Austrian baker from the neighbourhood had closed down his shop a few years earlier, and Italians owned other cake shops. So following this conversation, we knew that to have delicious Austrian cakes, we would either have to go to a big city, or to bake them ourselves.
Why Linzer Torte is More Linzer Tart than Torte?
Linzertorte, chosen by my husband, is probably the oldest known cake in the world. Although it is called torte, which may imply it is multilayered, it, in truth, looks more like a tart or a pie. It consists of a shortcake pastry that apart from the usual ingredients, includes also ground nuts and fragrant spices. The pastry makes the base and lattice, and in between them, there is a layer of jam (usually red currant). Linzer Torte tastes the best if you bake it a day (or even two) before serving to allow the fragrances to develop fully.
I based my Linzer tart on a recipe from Flo Braker’s book. I couldn’t find redcurrant preserve anywhere so used low sugar raspberry jam mixed with a bit of lemon juice instead. The cake turned out beautiful. It was so fragrant and delicious that I am probably going to bake it for Christmas this year. But to make it even more Christmassy, I am thinking of using orange preserve.
Take all the refrigerated ingredients out from a fridge earlier as they should be at room temperature.
In a bowl mix flour, breadcrumbs, ground almonds and spices; set aside.
In a big bowl, beat with an electric mixer the butter and sugar until you have a fluffy and light mass (it will take about 5-7 minutes).
Add the egg and lemon zest; beat till combined.
Add the mixed dry ingredients, beat with a mixer until the pastry comes together.
Divide the pastry into two portions (one slightly bigger than the other), flatten them and wrap in plastic. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (you can also prepare the shortcrust pastry in the evening and bake in the morning).
Mix the jam with the lemon juice and optionally press half of it through the sieve to eliminate the seeds.
Grease with butter a 25cm diameter tart form with a removable bottom.
Preheat an oven to 180C.
Remove the bigger part of the dough from the fridge, roll out on baking parchment, transfer to the tart form and cover its bottom and sides pressing the pastry gently down.
Spread the raspberry jam on top of the prepared base.
Roll out on the baking parchment the second smaller part of the pastry, cut out 1.5-2 cm wide strips.
Lay the strips on top of the tarts to create a lattice.** Press the ends of the strips gently into the edge of the torte.
Mix the egg with milk and Using a pastry brush, brush an even and thin coat over the lattice. Sprinkle with almond flakes on the edges.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the top is golden and the jam is bubbling.
Cool and if you can resist, serve it the next day.
*The authentic Linzer Torte is made with redcurrant jam. I couldn’t find it and used raspberry jam instead. But if you use redcurrant jam, you probably will not have to add lemon juice.
** You can do a lattice cross or simply crisscross the strips. The latter is much easier as the pastry is very short and crumbly.
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Hi, I am Agnieszka, and I am passionate about delicious but healthy food. Many healthy dishes are bland and uninteresting. I reject this. So I created my blog Tastes of Health to share my yummy recipes for healthier (often plant-based and gluten-free) versions of family favourites.
I look forward to receiving your feedback after you try them.