Pipe Dream #253: To Be Swept Along With The Christmastide – Linzer Torte

linzer torte 7

I had it in my mind for a good three months to make jammy dodgers at Christmastime. Jammy dodgers are the British version of Linzer cookies…which are an Americanized version of German cookies? I don’t know. Europe.

And, like the Christmas Yule Log that I wanted to make and then everyone made a Yule Log, I found this recipe posted. For some reason, every time I’ve wanted to try something cool this year, it’s like every other food blogger in the world wants to do the same and posts their recipe before I can. It’s ok, I’m not trying to be super original or anything, it’s just funny how food trends come and go, and I’m swept along with the tide like everyone else. The Christmastide, as it were.

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linzer torte 2

This recipe felt wholesome and European. It’s a little long, but if you want to feel wholesome and European today, it’s worth the lattice puzzling. It includes bread crumbs and ground walnuts and raspberry jam, a welcome reprieve from all the buttercreams and peanut butter you can find in the archives. I mean, nothing against PB, but you know, girl deserves some different nut butters now and again, amirite?

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linzer torte 1

False lattice-ing. You know how I hate making pies.

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linzer torte 6

Auf wiedersehen,

L

Linzer Torte

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book Of Great Desserts via smittenkitchen

Base and lattice
2 1/4 cups (1/2 pound or 225 grams) shelled walnuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 stick + 2 tablespoons (5 ounces or 240 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
scant 1 cup (165 grams) granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1/2 egg yolk
Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

Filling
1/4 cup (about 20 to 25 grams) fine, dry breadcrumbs
2 cups (about 575 grams) seedless raspberry jam

To finish
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Make base: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round layer cake pans or cast-iron skillet.

In a food processor, process the walnuts and 1/4 cup of the flour (reserve remaining 1 1/4 cups for next step) for 15 seconds, or until the nuts are finely ground but have not formed a paste.

Place remaining 1 1/4 cups flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large, wide-ish mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and walnut-flour mixture. In a small dish, beat the whole egg, yolk, and lemon rind utnil combined, and stir into crumb mixture, kneading with your hands at the end until a cohesive mass forms.

Divide dough into halves. Place one portion into the bottom of the pan, and press evenly and firmly over the bottom and then about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches up the sides with your fingers.

Bake the shell for 15 minutes, or until it barely begins to color at the edges.

While the shell  bakes, roll the remaining piece of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, until 1/4- to 3/8-inch in thickness one inch bigger than your pan size. Transfer to the freezer until the dough is well-chilled, about 20 minutes. Remove the shell from oven and let cool slightly; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

To make the fine breadcrumbs, I toasted some bread and then pulsed it in a food processor until it was really fine. You’ll need about double the amount of coarse breadcrumbs to yield enough of the fine bread crumbs when pulsed.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely ground breadcrumbs over each par-baked shell. Stir the jam until soft, then spread 1 cup over the shell. Cut the remaining dough into 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide strips. Place strips over the jam, aranging them 1/2- to 3/4-inch apart, criss-crossing them on an angle to make a lattice top with diamond-shaped openings. Use any leftover pieces to fill in  gaps between the lattice-strips and tall sides of shells.

Mix egg yolk and water. Brush it all over lattice top and border. Sprinkle with almonds, if using. Bake torte for 45 to 60 minutes, until the crust and almonds on top are well-browned.

Remove from oven and place on a rack. Once fully cool, you can decorate the tortes with powdered sugar before serving in wedges or squares. For best flavor, let stand overnight covered with foil.

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