The Linzer Torte is a beautiful, classic European confectionery. It’s not easy to make and I tried to make a few times to find out how to avoid mess.
What challenging are; 1)to make beautiful stripes of pastry on its surface, and 2)to keep the bottom pasty from being broken and crumbled when cut. Especially when you want to bring the cut pieces of Linzer Torte to a party, they should endure the commuting.
Challenge 1, Beautiful Stripes
I think there are three possible methods to make stripes;
i) form thin codes just like a child plays with clay,
ii) use a piping bag and pipe the batter, and
iii) roll the batter and cut in stripes with a knife.
I tried all three. (i) was not good because the warmth of my hands make the dough softer quickly (you know, it’s June in NY!) and became difficult to handle.
The result of (ii) was miserable. It could be because I used parchment paper to make a simple pastry cone and did not use a real pastry bag and a tip, though.
I think the dough was too hard to pipe with a paper cone, so I need to squeeze hard and it got thicker and… well, the above picture tells all.
I believe the method of (iii) is the easiest and promises most stable result.
Challenge 2, Texture of Dough
Most classic recipes call for egg yokes (not whole eggs) and relatively large portion of nuts in the batter. Both result in very short, crumbly but moist texture which is wonderful in your mouth, but very fragile in a box.
So I would suggest to use a whole egg instead of two egg yokes and use a bit less nuts when you want clean cut squires.
Ingredients (7 1/2 x 7 1/2 pan):
Flour, 6 oz (175g)
Baking powder, 1 ts
Almond, 1.5 oz (30g) (or 2 oz(40g))
Walnut, 1.5 oz (30g) (or 2 oz(40g))
Butter, soften, 5 oz (135g)
1 egg (or 2 egg yokes)
Sugar 3 tbs (40g)
Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, all spice, 1/8 ts each
Lemon zest from a half lemon
Jam 2/3 cup
Kirsch 1-2 tbs
I used only almond and walnut but if you have hazel nuts, it’s even better. Use all three kinds of nuts 1 oz each.
1) Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and coat it with butter, then flour.
2) Mix flour, baking powder, spices and shift together.
3) Place almond and walnut in a food processor and pulse the nuts until very finely ground.
4) Place softened butter in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add sugar, beat well again.
5) Add egg (or egg yoke) and lemon zest, then beat well. See Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies recipe for how to zest a lemon.
6) Add flour mixture and ground nuts to the bowl, mix thoroughly with a spatula.
7) Take roughly 3/4 of the dough. Spread and press it evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. It should be at least 1/2 an inch thick. Cover it with plastic wrap. Also wrap the remained dough with plastic wrap, too.
Let both rest in refrigerator for 20- 30 minutes.
8) In the mean time, mix jam and kirsch liqueur. Traditionally, Linzer torte calls for red currant jam but many modern German/Austrian recipes say any red colored jam is fine. I used mixed berries preserves from Bonne Maman.
9) Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F (170 degrees C)
10) Take the baking pan from refrigerator and spread the jam over the dough.
11） Remove the remained dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining dough about 1/4 inch thick. Using a long scale and a knife, cut it into thin stripes and place them across the top of the dough, forming a lattice from edge to edge.
12) Put it in an oven and bake 35- 45 minutes, until the jam is bubbling a bit and the dough is starting to turn golden brown. Then remove it from the oven, let cool.
13) When completely cooled, cut carefully into 3-4 inches squares.
I have this recipe in Japanese, too.