I’ll obey them in the winter when the doctors say to me
I must give up ham and spinach, and obedient I’ll be.
To relieve my indigestion in December they can try,
But there’s none of them can stop me when it’s time for cherry pie.
~ Edgar A. Guest, The Milwaukee Journal, 1935 May 29
In a previous job, we hired a sweet intern Susanne who once brought in a delicious linzer torte to share. She gave me her recipe before she returned to Germany, but somehow I never got around to making it… for three whole years!
I was most delighted to rectify this linzer torte situation today with my friend Gudrun, who showed me how to make it with a recipe she got from her friend. (Incidentally, Gudrun makes yummy treats in the form of design goodies too – she made the header on my blog!) :-)
Just for fun, here is a rough step-by-step guide to making linzer torte:
First, you reduce some hazelnuts to a fine grind (we used a blender)…
Next, measure the flour and other ingredients (oh kitchen scales – what a luxury! I think I should consider getting some.)
Make a mini volcano with the flour, placing everything else in its centre (we did this, the photo below is lying…)
Then you need to be harsh and furious, attacking everything with a knife or two. Certainly a new move in my baking repertoire!
When the butter and dry ingredients have mingled for a while and gotten to know each other a little better, knead the dough with your hands till you find yourself with a lovely mound of nutty, sweet-smelling dough. It should be moist but not elastic/sticky like bread dough. Nutty bits may fall off – that is okay. Just gather it all in a bowl and put it in the fridge to chill for a while. The dough will be easier to work with when cold.
In the meantime, grease your cake tin (or in our case, one cake tin and two muffin trays).
Let your pastry cutter go skating in the flour across your benchtop (strictly optional).
When the dough is nice and cold, take it out from the fridge. Lightly flour your benchtop/rolling pin, and roll approximately 2/3 of the dough into a thin sheet. You may wish to roll it in between two sheets of baking paper if it’s all too sticky. (A note here: we found the dough quite fragile, so we rolled out the dough for the muffin trays before lining them, but used a combination technique of rolling and patting the dough to get it into the cake tin).
Line your muffin trays and/or cake tin with dough, and add in spoonfuls of jam.
Use the remaining dough to decorate your linzer torte. We cut little stars out for the muffin-sized linzer torte, and strips for the cake-sized one (photos below).
Lay the little stars on top of the muffin-sized jam beds and dot the doughy bits with egg yolk… (a note here: we ran out of egg yolk for the second tray of muffin-sized linzer torte, and there was a marked difference in colour between the two trays of baked linzer torte – refer to the photo near the top of this post. I can’t decide which I prefer, but I think our free range eggs are very yellow…).
This is what we did with the cake-sized one:
We rolled the dough for the strips in between two sheets of baking paper, cut it into strips with a pastry cutter, then carefully attempted to place them nicely on top of the prepared base in the cake tin.
It was A LOT harder than it looks. You need confident and graceful fingers (Gudrun has them – I’m working on it).
Finally, everything was ready to go into the oven. We baked the muffin-sized ones for around 30 minutes, and the cake-sized one for the recommended 45.
The house smelled lovely and sweet… we took the baked fruits of our labour out of the oven when they turned golden and left them to cool.
After baking all afternoon, it was time for a snack. Gudrun’s red cabbage was soft, comforting and gently scented with notes of cloves and nutmeg – amazing!
We went for a walk.
And then we had afternoon tea with N and H.
Complete with coffee, tea and cream.
Yes, it was every bit as good as it looks here. Perhaps better.
The original recipe is as follows (I typed this from a printed sheet and I don’t speak/read German, so please forgive any errors):
1 TL Backpulver
250g Margarine oder Butter
150g Haselnüsse, fein gemahlen
1 EL Kakao
1 EL Zimt
1 EL Rum
1 Messerspitze Nelkenpulver
1 Glas Himbeermarmelade (250g)
In der Mitte des Mehlbergs eine Mulde graben und alle anderen Zutaten drauf geben, mit zwei Messer zusammenhacken/mischen – dann mit den Händen weiterkneten. Wichtig: alle Zutaten sollten gut gekühlt sein, sonst bricht der Teig beim „Basteln” leicht.
2/3 des Teigs zum Boden verarbeiten und in eine gefettete (oder mit Backpapier ausgelegte), runde Springform legen und mit Marmelade bestreichen.
1/3 des Teigs für 1cm breite Streifen (Gittermus-ter siehe Foto – den Außenrand nicht vergessen). Diese Streifen vorsichtig oben drauf geben und mit dem Eigelb einpinseln.
Bei 160°C für 45 Minuten backen.
And this is the recipe in English, I have added in a few notes.
(Note: we used 1.5 times of everything so we could make one cake-sized linzer torte and 12 muffin-sized ones)
1 tsp baking powder
250g margarine or butter (we used unsalted butter, cubed)
150g hazelnuts, finely ground
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rum (we used brandy)
1 pinch ground cloves
250g raspberry jam
1 egg yolk, for brushing the top (you may need 2 if you make as much as we did)
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Make the pastry:
Pour the flour onto a clean benchtop, or on a large chopping board if you don’t have a metal bench like we did. Make a well in the centre, pour all the other ingredients into the well, then use a knife or two to chop/mix it all. Once you have everything looking pretty fine and well mixed, knead it with your hands. Place the dough into a bowl and chill it in the fridge – we only put ours in the fridge for 15 minutes, but it could do with longer so it doesn’t break when you work with it later.
Press 2/3 of the dough into a greased (or lined) round springform pan (and two muffin trays if using), and spread jam across the bases. The sides will rise a little during baking, so you don’t need to make the edges too high.
For the cake-sized linzer torte: cut some of the remaining dough into 1cm-wide strips (we made slightly wider strips so we didn’t have to lay as many strips across the top – it was rather fragile)! Carefully lay 3 or 4 strips across the linzer torte, then another 3 or 4 strips at a 45 degree (or in our case, almost 90 degree) angle to the other strips. Brush the rim and dough with egg yolk. We used a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out stars for the muffin-sized linzer torte, but you can decorate these however you wish.
Bake the cake-sized linzer torte for 45 minutes, and the muffin-sized ones for around 30 minutes – or until the dough is nicely golden and your house smells heavenly.
Serve with thickened cream, coffee and tea – Und Guten Appetit!
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