Why Did I Bake Linzer Tart?
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.