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.
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
A big knife or two
A big surface that you can chop things on
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.
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!)
…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…
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.
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.