linzertortes

•December 19, 2008 • 1 Comment

Okay, so I don’t post here much. But I want to make public the glory that is my family linzertorte recipe, which seems to be kind of unlike any other one I have ever seen.

Ingredients:
2 c. flour
2 c. almond meal (or ground almonds. Or almonds you threw in a blender, if your almond meal supplier fails you like mine did this year.) NOT almond flour! What I’m thinking of has some coarseness too it… not big chunks of almond, though, either.
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 t. cocoa
2 sticks or 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 egg, divided
a dash of milk
a medium-sized jar of raspberry preserves

Supplies:
A big knife or two
A big surface that you can chop things on
Rolling pin
Brush
Assorted cookie cutters — my staples are small-to-medium-size stars and a circle for the crust and cookies (although a wine glass works almost as well for that second one)
An 8″ or 9″ springform and a cookie sheet

So hopefully you have a surface you don’t mind messing up and cutting on. It should probably be a big-ish one.

Make a mountain out of the flour, almond, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon. Leave the flour nearby, you’ll need it later. Make a little dent in the middle of the mountain, then divide your egg and put the egg white into that dent so that it doesn’t run away. Put the yolk in a cup and set it aside for later (you may want to cover it, because it’ll be a while).

Preheat your oven now, to 350, before you are covered in butter.

So, the butter. This is the key component. If you are smart, you have left it out for a bit and it is at room temperature. If this is the case, congratulations, you get to do this the easy way. Chop into thin-ish slices over top of your mostly-dry-ingredient mountain. If you’re like me and forgot to take it of the fridge until 30 seconds ago, then do almost the same thing but flake it. Trust me, it’s for your own good.

butter mountain

Welcome to Butter Mountain. Now get your knife out. Now is the time to mention, I suppose, that this is all a lot more fun and a lot easier with a helper. Especially this part. Give them a knife too. Start chopping. Chop chop chop, fold in the drier bits, chop chop fold fold chop. You will undoubtedly be looking at this going “there is no way in hell this will ever be dough”, but really, keep chopping. When your butter is about pea-sized, put down the knife and start kneading. Within in a few minutes? You will have dough! See? It did work! (On the off-chance it didn’t, because your almonds were too dry? Add a tiiiiny bit of your egg yolk. Save some, though!)

doughmonster
…yours probably won’t be monster-shaped, though.

Okay, get out the springform. You don’t need to prepare it, you’re putting dough containing half a pound of damn butter in there. Take a handful of dough and pat it smooth into the bottom. It should be about 1/4″ thick and even. Now flour your working surface well, and your rolling pin. Roll out dough to a thickness somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/8″. Closer to 1/8″. Using your circle cookie cutter or wine glass, cut out “leaf” shapes, like this: (), or see also the monster’s tongue, although that (for reference) is rolled too thin. Overlap them along the edge to form a crush, leaving between 1/2″ and 1/4″ showing of each. This depends on dough thickness — thicker ones can overlap less, thinner ones need to more. The goal is for it to be more than 1/2″ tall.

I don’t have good process pictures here because it is hard to take pictures when you are covered in butter.

Now that you have your base, fill it with raspberry jam. The amount will vary depending how tall you’ve made the crust — don’t fill it right to the brim, as it will boil over, but don’t skimp, because I mean, it’s jam.

Here’s the fun part. Almost every linzertorte I have seen online has a boring lattice crust. Well let me tell you… fuck that. Get your cookie cutters. Now, I will say this: I -am- an art student and so was my mother, who taught me this recipe. But this isn’t as hard as you’d think.

The trick? Approach it like a kaleidoscope. Look at your cookie cutter. How many can you fit in a circle? Do it. Big hole in the middle? Cut a circle, cut a star out of it. You’ll need this skill later anyway. Fill in the big gaps by rolling different-sized balls of dough. Stars are my favorite, but I have made successful with smallish cookie cutters of angels, trees, and reindeer. Cookie cutters between 1 1/2″ and 3″ at their widest are ideal — smaller and you’ll go insane, bigger and you can’t pattern it.

You will have dough left. We’ll get to that.

Now take that egg yolk you set aside it and put a splash of milk in it. Mix it up and paint it on to the torte right before you put it in the oven — if you give it too much time to soak in it won’t get shiny. So if you forgot to preheat your oven (not that I speak from experience or anything), hold off on this step until it’s hot. Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes, or until the jam is bubbling and the dough has gotten all nice and shiny and a little browned…

linzertortes

Pretty, right?

Now, at this point you probably have a fair amount of dough left. What to do with it? Make cookies!

Get that circle out again. Roll out your dough and cut circles. Cut stars in the middle of half of them. Put a teaspoon or so of jam in the middle of the solid circles, then put the ones with the stars cut out on top. Seal down the edges VERY WELL, you don’t want jam leaks! Roll each star you cut out into a ball and place it in the middle of… well… the jam-hole, for lack of a better term. Put them on a cookie sheet (these are happier with a layer of foil or parchment paper) and once your linzertorte is out of the oven, give them the same egg-yolk glaze and stick them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

cookies

Linzercookies! They’re just as tasty! Good for giving to friends, or eating for yourself because you’re saving the big torte for a holiday party or something.

One batch of dough makes: one proper springform linzertorte and 6-10 cookies
A double batch makes: three linzertortes in round foil pans (because if you’re making these many, it’s probably to give away, and I’ve found that giving out parts of springforms is a good way to never get them back…) and 6-10 cookies.

Merry Christmas!

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productive procrastination

•September 1, 2007 • 5 Comments

well, in general, no knitting accomplished lately. at all. BUT. I did start my plane socks.

This is more complicated than one might think. I’m bad at guessing yardage, so I lean toward toe-up socks since I can just stop when I run out of yarn. but, Fiesta Boomerang comes in big ol’ skeins that can yield two socks. so, in about a 2-hour, very painful process, my mother and I hand-wound it into two balls, one from each end. I then evened them out visually and used a postal scale to determine that they were the same weight and therefore probably had similar yardage.

While there are many things I like about toe-up socks, the toes themselves aren’t one of them. They are twisty and fiddly and maddening. And if I made one and then was forced by the TSA gods to destroy it, I would die a little inside. Except more like a lot inside. So my plan was to make my toe and put in a lifeline after the last decrease so that if my needles were confiscated, I could simply pull them out and call it a day. Yes, it’s a potential loss of $8, but worth it if I have something to do on that plane.

So last night, I made a sock toe. And then my mother pointed out that it’s a long flight and I’m already thinking lifelines, so why not make ANOTHER sock toe? And I did. And it’s probably a good thing, because it’s striping so gorgeously that I think I may just stay with stockinette on these, which will make them go stupidly fast. While evidently even as much as a two-row repeat can fall victim to my “I’ll do a repeat and then put it down” mentality, with stockinette I have a tendency to just go and go and go and go because hey, what does it really matter?

Anyway. Photographic evidence:

Socks and balls. And yes, I do have that many #4’s, for some reason — they’d probably be better on #3’s, but seriously, look at that. I have no #3’s and I don’t want to buy needles solely so that I can risk their confiscation, and the #4’s appear to be breeding. Except for the one out of the birch set that has vanished, which is sad, since that was the set I was most willing to potentially part with. But 5-needle socks are more intuitive for me than 4-needle, and I don’t want to mix and match, so unless I find it, I guess I’m bringing my bamboos….

Mmmm. It is striping GORGEOUSLY. It doesn’t really need anything more elaborate than stockinette, really — and plus, who wants to mess with that? *points up*

And ignore the awkward increases. I did one, realised it was bad, then realised that it was a toe and no one was looking at it and it would make it easier to do my post-toe stitch count when I’m trying to make the second the same size.

…But yeah. My only problem now will be putting them down and saving them for next week. Preeeetttyyyy. Don’t want to.

not quite autopilot

•August 20, 2007 • 1 Comment

So. Pictures. Right.

See, here’s the thing. Hedera is being neglected out of guilt, but this leaves me with two projects that have two-row repeats. And one of those is seed stitch, and set up so that I don’t even have to pay attention to where I’m at as long as I knit my purls and purl my knits, so that doesn’t count. BUT I CAN’T HANDLE THIS MUCH MINDLESS KNITTING.

The intent was to complete these for my father’s birthday. It’s in 10 days and this is #1, so obviously, not happening. Slip-stitch ribbing is prettier than normal ribbing, but… still ribbing. I briefly contemplated throwing in some cables, but I’m a little far along for that and anyway, with 15 knit ridges it’s awkward count-wise.

And this would be Le Slouch avec Les Problèmes. Beaucoup des problèmes. You see, Knitpicks is somewhat marginally vague about yarn gauge. The pattern said worsted, the yarn said worsted and was $3.99 and my mother liked it, and so I went with it. I bought 7″ DPNs for it because longer than that would irritate me in future uses.

And then I realized how ridiculously different my gauge was. Also, that I come from a family of large-headed people. So…. I wound up having to add somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 stitches. I’ll figure out the decreases when we get there, but mostly, I’m just going “HLAHFSDJFHSDFA TOO MANY STITCHES” on this one. I am compensating by upping the tension so they don’t scuttle off the ends whenever I set it down, but this makes it less than enjoyable to work on.

Because this has been a lot of bitching about frustrating knitting… I never got a proper picture of the fetus, now that I think of it. But it has been gifted, and it is loved.

So hey. I will take my one vague success and run with it.

rather simple

•August 16, 2007 • 3 Comments

1. Most Scotland Program participants are done 14 December. It says this somewhere buried in the middle of one document that I sent to the British Consulate.

2. K students are done 25 January because we have to sit exams. It says this in very large letters on approximately three documents that I sent to the British Consulate.

3. My flight does not leave until 9 February. My school booked it, not me. I would have to pay to re-book it. It leaves from Aberdeen. Asking to have my visa extended until then is no more additional time in the country than is generated by a visa expiring 2 January issued when they thought I was done on 14 December. I repeat: I am leaving on 9 February. I do not want to leave before then because I would need to change my flight. I do not want to leave after then because I would need to change my flight. I AM DONE WITH FINALS ON 25 JANUARY AND MY FLIGHT LEAVES TWO WEEKS AND ONE DAY LATER ON 9 FEBRUARY. I SENT YOU PAPERWORK CONFIRMING THIS DATE. I AM NOT MOVING THIS DATE.

THIS IS NOT PARTICULARLY COMPLICATED.

Certainly it did not warrant the incredibly circuitous 15-minute phone conversation I just had with someone from the British Consulate.

Regardless, my corrected visa IS now coming, so I guess that’s what counts.

In other news, I am incapable of concentrating on one project and getting it done, so while I do have a completed fetus, I also have one mostly-done sock that is the last of a pair, one barely-started sock that is the first of a pair that will most assuredly NOT be done in time for the birthday it is for, and now? A hat for my mother started. This is getting ridiculous.

it liiiiives

•August 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

So in the past few weeks I have survived Venetian, driven to the U.P. and back, and gotten my wisdom teeth removed, so forgive the neglect.  However, not all is neglected!

Fetching is completed! We will ignore the gauge issues on the second. Really. Evidently my knitting gets looser when I am knitting to prevent myself from going INSANE, i.e. Venetian.

Hedera the second! With enough progress to be worth mentioning! As you can see, heel is turned, I’m getting there on decreases, and it only gets faster from here.

However, I think my Hedera days are numbered. My father’s birthday is the 31st, and I started his socks tonight. Schoeller Fortissima Socka on the bamboo 1.5’s I found in Marquette — it’s too fine of a yarn for 2’s, but 1’s will be a good way to go mad.

Because this is what I have so far:

HOLY JESUS. Um. I measured to get my gauge and he -is- a size 12 1/2 wide, but this still seems unreasonably ridiculously large. It is being made for a foot with 11″ circumference, and don’t socks generally stretch? So shouldn’t it not be in possession of nearly that circumference itself? Blaugh. Ah well. Ankles tend to bind on him, so at this point, I’ll finish the ankle band and then experiment more, and if I need to do decreases to the next size down, so be it. I AM NOT RIPPING IT OUT IT TOOK ME TOO LONG SO DON’T EVEN SAY IT. Also, I may need to molest his feet with a tape measure just to be sure.

The fetus (see previous post) is complete in its rough form and tucked in my bedside cabinet, but needs some creative gathering to look like what it is, and -possibly- a re-bind-off if I’m feeling masochistic enough because the one it got is too tight. I am made of fail.

multicolored fetus of joy

•July 24, 2007 • 1 Comment

Oh god we won’t talk about project progress.

I did go shopping today for supplies for Lenya’s wonderfully creepy birthday present, though. I saw this and immediately thought of her, which is why she is awesome. I picked up Lion Brand (shut up, I’m cheap) Landscapes in Rose Garden, which I thought would be pink enough to suit the project but not-pink enough to make it even creepier. Yippee. Now I just have to make the damn thing, heh.

overview of kelsey-projects

•July 18, 2007 • 2 Comments

okay. so. it’s almost 2 AM, and I should be in bed, but I was just forced to take knitting pictures, and now that I have them I feel they should be used for something.

This is the basket to which my mother has attempted to relegate the living-room knitting. Atop it is Hedera Sock #1.

Detail of said sock. It is in Colinette Jitterbug Castagna, which I am going to run out of, but it’s being taken care of. We are not going to talk about the status of its mate. I promise it that someday, it will be a whole sock, not just 5 rows of cuff sitting forlornly on my bedside table. Really.

These are the Bree-socks. They are in Malabrigo (black and Oro y Vino) and they are intentionally obnoxious.

They are a feather and fan pattern mildly of my own design. The second one is nearly finished, but presently stalled at a really ridiculous state best described as “can’t be arsed”, which translates to “shut up, there are a lot of ends to hide and I hate hiding ends”. Photographic evidence of this exists, but Photobucket is being ridiculous so you don’t get to see it. Also, it is sort of shameful.

There is also a really boring scarf in progress, but there are too many pictures here already.

And then we have the means by which I am procrastinating on Hedera: Fetching handwarmers for Kelley, which I kind of want to steal for myself because Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran is amazing.

One done, one in progress. I do not like cabling to the front. I also am not particularly enamored of the thumb gusset, which is oddly protuberant, but they look fine on, so whatever. Just need to find something different to do in the future.

(I did modify them slightly — they seemed a bit stumpy in the pictures, so there are two extra rows in the body ribbing before the gusset, two extra rows after the gusset, and one or two extra rows in the thumb and possibly an extra row at the fingers post-cable but I’m too lazy to count right now.)

So… yeah.