Week 5 already. Today we learned how to make a Linzer Torte. Before today, I had never heard of this. A Linzer Torte is a pastry that is native to Austria and is very popular during the holidays. It is probably best known for its nutty taste and lattice design that hints at the jam preserves hiding just below.
We began by mixing together butter and icing sugar until fluffy. We slowly added eggs, vanilla and lemon zest until just incorporated. Then the dry ingredients – pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon. The most important ingredients we added were the ground nuts. In this recipe we used ground hazelnuts and ground almonds as well as some graham cracker crumbs. Generally however, ground almonds are always used. Once everything was mixed we had a sticky creamed mixture which we promptly used to fill a cake pan halfway. Some of the batter was reserved to be used for the lattice design.
We then spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on top of the batter. Any jam will work, but in most cases raspberry or apricot jams are used. I think next time I might try this with a blueberry jam instead. The remaining batter was then put into a piping bag and using a #3 tip, we piped lines in a lattice design across the top. The batter will expand, so anything over #3 tip would ruin the look. Into the oven they went!
Cakes just out of the oven:
The cakes were left to cool for a bit before being removed from the cake pans. In the meanwhile, we heated up some apricot glaze to use to coat the tops of the cakes for a nice finish. Sometimes almonds slivers and icing sugar are used as well to finish off the cake.
This batter also works well in cookie form. We had some leftover batter and after adding some bread flour to stabilize the dough a bit, we rolled the dough and made thumbprint cookies. A little raspberry jam in the middle, they turned out great! A terrific christmas cookie idea.
I had a slice of cake for breakfast the next day. I was a bit worried because it looked dry, but it did not taste that way. This is a crumbly cake, but full of nutty flavour. I can only imagine how great it would taste if the recipe included all ground nuts and no fillers. The layer of jam looked thin in comparison to the cake portion but there was just enough sweet fruit flavour to contrast. And the lattice-work just gives it a cool look. I think I liked this week’s treat a lot =)