Linzer Torte

The Linzer Torte is one of the oldest known torte recipes in the world, and it has a rich history that dates back several centuries.

Here’s an overview of its fascinating origins.

  1. Origin: The Linzer Torte originated in the city of Linz, Austria, which is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is believed to have been created in the 17th century, making it one of the oldest recorded torte recipes.
  2. Early References: The earliest known written recipe for Linzer Torte dates back to 1653, where it appeared in the cookbook “Küchengeheimnisse” (Kitchen Secrets) by Austrian poet and cook Katharina Prato. This cookbook is one of the oldest known cookbooks written in German.
  3. Noble Roots: Linzer Torte was initially a dessert enjoyed by the aristocracy and nobility due to its luxurious ingredients, including ground nuts, spices, and preserves. Its popularity quickly spread beyond Linz and throughout the Habsburg Empire.
  4. Distinctive Design: What sets Linzer Torte apart is its distinctive lattice or crisscross pattern on top, made from strips of dough. Traditionally, this lattice is made with a dough that contains ground almonds or hazelnuts, giving the torte its unique texture and flavor.
  5. Cultural Significance: Linzer Torte holds cultural significance in Austria and beyond. It is often associated with holidays and special occasions, such as Christmas and weddings. In Austria, it is also a popular souvenir for visitors to bring home.
  6. International Spread: Over time, Linzer Torte gained popularity beyond Austria and became a beloved dessert in many European countries and even in the United States. Its buttery crust, flavorful filling, and decorative design have made it a favorite among pastry enthusiasts worldwide.
  7. Modern Variations: While the traditional Linzer Torte recipe calls for a lattice crust and a filling made from red currant jam, modern variations may incorporate different types of fruit preserves, such as raspberry or apricot. Some recipes also use almonds or hazelnuts in the crust instead of ground walnuts.

Despite its centuries-old history, the Linzer Torte continues to be enjoyed today, both in its traditional form and in innovative interpretations. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its delicious flavor, beautiful presentation, and rich cultural heritage.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 200g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 100g (1 cup) ground almonds or hazelnuts
  • 150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 200g (3/4 cup) red currant jam (or raspberry or apricot jam)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For assembly:

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Make the crust: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds or hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest. Add the softened butter and egg yolk. Mix until the dough comes together and forms a ball. If the dough is too dry, you can add a tablespoon of cold water to help it come together.
  3. Chill the dough: Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
  4. Roll out the dough: Once chilled, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Carefully transfer the rolled-out dough to the prepared tart pan, pressing it gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edges.
  5. Prick the dough: Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork to prevent it from puffing up during baking.
  6. Bake the crust: Place the tart pan in the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
  7. Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, mix the red currant jam (or your preferred jam) with the lemon juice until smooth and spreadable.
  8. Assemble the torte: Spread the jam evenly over the partially baked crust.
  9. Create the lattice: Roll out the remaining dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the dough into thin strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern over the jam-filled crust.
  10. Bake again: Return the assembled Linzer Torte to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the jam is bubbling.
  11. Cool and serve: Remove the Linzer Torte from the oven and let it cool completely in the tart pan. Once cooled, carefully remove the sides of the tart pan and transfer the torte to a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
  12. Slice and enjoy: Cut the Linzer Torte into wedges and serve. Enjoy the delicious combination of buttery crust, sweet jam filling, and aromatic spices!

This Linzer Torte is a classic dessert that’s perfect for holidays, special occasions, or any time you’re craving a taste of traditional Austrian baking.

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