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linzer torte

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Linzer torte

Linzer torte, what a lovely, enormous jammy shortbread cookie. Shortcrust pastry is a no-brainer: there are recipes for the sweet pie crust galore. Still, this one is particularly nice with the whole hazelnuts that make the pastry dark in colour and fragrant in taste.

It’s the lattice that’s the tricky bit.

I’ve made this with a sort of half-lattice: the jam filling makes it damn difficult to flip the pastry strips up and weave them as you should do: you end up with strips breaking, smeared with jam, a total mess. So save your tidy lattice for a set filling – I’ll stick to, and recommend you do, hotchpotch weave lattice for the sticky filling.

Linzer torte slice

Linzer torte is the flagship Austrian tart/pie: my grandmother was brought up near Linz so it’s close to my heart. Hazelnuts are obligatory; toasting them isn’t, so if you can get hold of ready-ground nuts, I’ll forgive you. Funnily enough, Granny never made the Linzer torte, at least to my memory – maybe she just didn’t like it? Anyway – I do.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • For the raspberry filling:
  • 400g (4 cups) frozen raspberries
  • 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • For the pastry:
  • 150g (1 cup) ground almonds
  • 60g (½ cup) whole hazelnuts
  • 195g (1 ½ cup) plain flour
  • 130g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 195g (1½ stick plus 2 tbsp.) cold butter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • flaked almonds (optional)
  • beaten egg, for brushing
  • icing sugar, for dusting

METHOD

Raspberry filling

To make the raspberry filling, bring the raspberries to the boil with the sugar in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated.  Pour into a jug and chill – it can be made well in advance.

Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray lined with parchment and toast them for 15 minutes in the oven preheated to 180C/350F/gas 4. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down. When cool, whizz them in a food processor or grind them in a nut/spice grinder with 2 heaped tablespoons of the flour until very finely ground (the flour stops them from releasing oil before they grind to a powder).

If you use the food processor, simply add all the remaining dry ingredients and whizz together. Dice the cold butter and add to the machine; whizz into fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract and pulse until it all comes together. Without the food processor place the ground nuts in a large bowl, add the remaining flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Cut the butter into small dice and rub it into the nut and flour mix. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla and knead it briefly into a dough.

Making Linzer torte

Divide it into two pieces, one slightly larger. Press the larger piece into the bottom and sides of a flan or tart dish, about 23cm in diameter. Roll the other piece between two pieces of parchment into a disc the size of the dish. Chill both the dish and the rolled out pastry for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Spoon the raspberry filling into the chilled pastry – you might not need to use it all (it makes quite a decent jam). Cut the rolled out pastry into at least 10 1cm wide strips and place them across the dish to form a lattice – or weave them if you manage. Trim the ends along the edge of the dish; roll the offcuts into a thin rope and line the edge of the pastry with it. Brush the pastry strips with beaten egg and sprinkle the outer edge with almond flakes, if using.

Linzer torte before baking

Bake the torte for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove onto a wire rack and dust with icing sugar when cold – keep the torte in the dish, it might not survive removing.

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