It’s been a while since I participated in the Bake Along challenge, hosted by hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. The theme this time is intriguing, at least to me. I’ve never heard of Linzer Tart before, and when I consulted Dr Google, it gave me Linzer cookies! Turns out we were supposed to bake a Linzer Torte, which is a famed Austrian (Linz, its namesake) dessert with Nut Pastry and Jam (Redcurrant, Raspberry or even Apricot!) and goes way back to 1696 (probably one of the oldest cakes in history). The use of the word ‘torte’ is a confusing one, but let’s ignore that minute detail and get baking!
Truth to be told, baking this tart was not without its obstables. In fact it was the first kitchen disaster I’ve had. First, I burnt myself while getting the tray of Roasted Almonds out of the oven. Before I sent the assembled tart into the oven, the sky turned completely dark! Bad news for us phone camera users. Soldier on, I thought and hope that I could just wait til the rain stop. When it was done, I wait for only a short while before trying to chill it in the freezer and then the worst thing happened: The Whole Freaking Tart slipped out of my hand and plummeted to its death.
Not only my hardwork was unsalvageable, I acquired even more burns on my right hand and left thigh (Note to self: hot jam is nasty). I’m sure all you bakers out there would probably feel my pain, physically and emotionally. I now have 6 blisters in separate spots.
What did I do next? Bury my head in the pillow and weep? No. Today I went out to get all the ingredients again and started over. When I was on the way home I also got completely drenched by the sudden heavy pour. Icing on the cake. Admittedly this is probably the most expensive dessert I’ve made so far.
Seeing the final product reminds me that Christmas is near, and this would be a perfect tart (I prefer to be technically correct… hehe) for the Christmas Dinner! I’ve chosen to use Almonds and grounded the nuts with a blender. And because Chocolate and Raspberries are a match made in heaven, I added some Cocoa powder in the pastry base. I don’t like to use anything out of a can or jar, so I’ve made my own jam as well. There’s really nothing like homemade jam! You can also see that I didn’t do the lattice top (not entirely confident with that) and instead I use the cookie cutter to cut out some hearts and arranged them on top. I think this is much prettier!
Linzer Torte (Recipe Adapted from Joyofbaking.com)
340g Frozen Raspberries (unsweetened)
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
Juice of half lemon
As Raspberries and Lemon contain natural pectin, this firms up quite nicely without additional pectin.
Place the frozen raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stiring occasionally to prevent bottom burning, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool, and then chill in fridge until needed.
150 grams Raw almonds
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Castor Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
180g Cold Unsalted Butter (I used Elle & Vire), cut into pieces
1/2 Egg (or more if needed), lightly beaten
Icing Sugar for dusting
Roast almonds in 180C oven for about 8-10 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Let cool slightly, and blend until fine. If you are using a food processor you can add the rest of the ingredients and pulse away, but I’m making my pastry by hand. In a mixing bowl, add ground almonds, flour, sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the butter cubes and rub with hands until mixture resembling breadcrumbs. Pour the egg in to draw moisture. Half an egg should be enough, but if the mixture hasn’t quite come together then add a little more. Do not go overboard, and try not to overwork the dough.
Once the mixture has come together, divide in to 2 portions, one larger than the other. Flatten to discs and wrap in clingwrap. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes. You might not need to chill it if you are working in a colder climate.
When the pastry dough is ready, take the larger one and roll out a little with a rolling pin, and then gently place into a 23cm tart pan, slowly press the dough to your desired thickness and trim the sides. Take the Raspberry jam and spread it over the bottom of the crust. Then place in freezer when you work on little hearts.
Take the other dough out and take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 15 hearts, then take a flower cookie cutter and cut out one flower. Arrange the cutouts on top of the tart, and send the whole thing back to the freezer again for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven (175C)
Bake the tart for 35 minutes. Cool on the wire rack before unmolding. Once unmolded, chill until ready to serve. Dust with icing sugar for that extra festive look.
So, was it worth all the effort and pain? Most definitely! The crust was deliciously crumbly, with the lovely fragrance from the nuts and spices, and just a hint of chocolate. The slight bitterness works well with the jam which has a strong tartness but also balanced by the sweetness. It’s a great dessert recipe. Frank is very happy about it anyway, he’s a huge fan of berries.
Thank you Joyce, for picking this theme!
Do check out the other Linzer Torte recipes!