The Linzer Torte is an Austrian/Hungarian/German/Swiss holiday dessert and is one of the oldest recipes in the world. It is commonly mistaken for its smaller and more popular cousin, the linzer sablé. I, however, decided to make the more gigantic version for a German friend for his housewarming party. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo of the complete torte, but I suppose you can simply let your imagination fill in the rest :)
I really like the word housewarming, and the social festivities built around the term. It suggests that a house, before it is inhabited, is simply a cold structure, devoid of any inherent meaning, but it is you who instills life into it. Over time, you make it a home with your memories and experiences., but you begin that process by warming it with the company of friends. And what is more beautiful than that? It’s one of those things that never meant much to me when I was little, but has steadily acquired more meaning with age and time. How do you want to fill your house? Simply with furniture and knick-knacks? Or with the laughter and love of family and friends?
The Recipe: (adapted from the Joy of Baking)
1 package of mixed frozen berries
1/2 cup of sugar
Linzer Torte: (I deviated significantly from this recipe because I kind of went overboard with the nuts …)
1.5-2 cups of almonds
3/4 cups of hazelnuts
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
14 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large egg yolks + 1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Icing sugar (for dusting)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and toast the almonds for 8-10 minutes, then the hazelnuts for 15-20 minutes. At the same time, heat the frozen berries and sugar in a saucepan on the stove with the sugar until it boils, then turn down the heat and let it simmer until it reaches the desired thickened consistency. Then cool in the fridge until you need to use it.
2. Crush the nuts by hand (which I did, laboriously, with a knife) or with a food processor and mix it with the flour. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
3. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (I think you can also use a hand mixer …). Add the egg yolks and the egg. It should come out kind of sticky.
4. Spread the dough in the bottom of the tart pan. Refrigerate the rest for an hour.
5. Spread the berry preserves on top of the crust.
6. Roll out the refrigerated crust into strips and place them as a lattice crust. It’s very crumbly and it’s okay if it breaks. That’s life.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Remove from oven, let cool and lightly dust with icing sugar.
Overall consensus: a German at the party told me it was great, so I guess it was at least up to standard :) When I had a bite myself, I thought the crust was a bit dry, and in the future, I probably would have wanted to more moist somehow (however, I think this is somewhat the point of the torte; plus I will readily admit that I’m not really a pie person myself). I was also less than impressed with the ugliness of the lattice crust, but because I had a hard time rolling it out and cutting it like a regular crust, I had to make do. Overall, people liked it a lot and I would make it again :)