Antique Austrian: Raspberry Linzer torte

The first thing we thought to make for our Austrian dish was Wiener Schnitzel. In fact, we deliberately didn’t make this for Germany (a nation also famous for its schnitzel), because we wanted to save it for Austria (which would have been the right thing to do, given that it is Austrian and not German). The other option we had in mind was the rich, chocolatey Sachertorte. But whilst researching all of this, we were reminded of another well-known Austrian delicacy: the Linzer Torte. Named after the Austrian city of Linz, it is said to be the oldest cake in the world, having originated in the 1600s, and this instantly made it an appealing dish to attempt. It’s basically a large jam tart.

What with it being half term week, and what with this being a recipe based largely upon flour, the Austrian dish was a Miranda job! We had a look at a number of recipes but eventually settled on the one from The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers, mostly because it involved homemade jam for the filling, and it felt like it would be cheating not to do that. This could potentially be an expensive option, as it calls for 600g of fresh raspberries, and with these going for £2 for 150g at our local high street supermarket, we were looking at £8 for some raspberry jam! Fortunately, we have a fantastic local market, where I managed to pick up 625g of raspberries for just £1. I knew they’d be cheaper there, but this was incredible. If you aren’t lucky enough to have bargains like this on your doorstep, a jar of good quality raspberry jam would be fine.

Pastry has never been my strong point, so I was a little bit nervous about this recipe. The book warns that the pastry for this tart is more like shortbread than shortcrust, and it wasn’t wrong. Even after having chilled in the fridge for an hour, it was far too crumbly to even attempt rolling it out. But with a bit of ingenuity, I managed to put the thing together, with the end result almost resembling the ‘elegant jam tart’ promised by the Bake Off team.

Pastry case and raspberry jam

Ready for the oven

Cut Linzer torte

Slice of Linzer torte

Raspberry Linzer Torte

Ingredients
For the pastry:
125g ground almonds
225g plain flour
Good pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
For the filling:
600g fresh raspberries
1 tsp lemon juice
6 tbsp caster sugar

Method
1. Put the almonds, flour, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar into a food processor and ‘pulse’ a few minutes until thoroughly combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
2. Lightly beat the egg with the yolks, then add to the food processor and process until the mixture comes together to make a ball of fairly soft dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for about an hour.
3. Meanwhile, for the filling, put the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar into a medium-sized pan and heat gently until the juices start to run, then turn up the heat and bring to a fast boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jammy. (The book says about 5 minutes for this – it took me a lot longer!) Pour into a bowl and cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 190C and put in a baking sheet to heat up.
4. Take the dough out of the fridge, cut off a third of it and put that back in the fridge. In theory, you should next roll out the remaining dough fairly thickly and use it to line a 23cm flan tin, making sure there are no holes. In practice, if your pastry is anything like mine, put it in the flan tin in blobs and press it around the sides with your hands. Put the completed case back in the fridge.
5. Take the reserved one-third of dough. In theory, roll it out to a rectangle about 11x24cm, then cut lengthways into 10 strips 1cm wide. In practice, it will crumble if you try to do this, so instead, roll/press it out as best you can and cut out small shapes with a cutter.
6. Spoon the raspberry filling into the pastry case and arrange your strips/shapes on top. If using strips, they should create a lattice effect, pressed to the rim of the pastry case.
7. Set the tart on the heated baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes until a good golden brown. We found that a good-sized blob of crème fraiche was an excellent accompaniment to this very sweet tart.

Despite the setbacks in production, we’ve enjoyed eating this tart. The recipe says that it’s best eaten on the day it’s made, but it’s lasted fine for two days so far. We will just have to hope the ‘soggy bottom’ doesn’t set in before we manage to finish it!

Next time, we will provide some insight into Czech food… which we’re looking forward to ourselves, having no idea what it is!

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