It’s all becoming clear to me now…

The main reason most Linzer tortes are made with short crust these days — or so I’ve come to believe — has to do with a certain technical issue. Reader Gerhard has convinced me that originally Linzer tortes were indeed cake-like and not tart-like, with red currant (or black currant) jam on the top.

But here’s the sticky detail: jam is gooey. It soaks into cake when you bake it on top of a liquid (or semi-liquid) batter. So how did the originators of the modern Linzer torte achieve a separation of the two? The answer: by applying paper-thin wafers to the batter and then spreading jam over them. Back-Oblaten they’re called…”baking wafers.” The jam goes on the wafer, the wafer provides a barrier and probably absorbs enough moisture from the jam during baking that you don’t know it’s there afterward.

The trouble is that baking wafers aren’t available in America, nor in a lot of other places I suspect. Which is why most bakers have simply gone over to short crusts for their Linzer tortes, because short crusts are much better barriers against jam. But since I’m on the trail of a classic Linzer torte, I don’t want to do that now. So I’ll need to solve the problem in some other way. A little brik pastry I’m thinking, or something to that effect. Of course I could just go for broke and pipe the jam right on the batter surface, but that’s going to give me a messy interior. And I don’t like messy. I’m uptight.

More on this soon. I welcome any suggestions!

28 thoughts on “It’s all becoming clear to me now…”

    1. I was thinking about that…maybe a very, very thin crepe or blintz-type thing. Wouldn’t be too tough I don’t think…thanks for the recipe!

      – Joe

  1. Umm…maybe rice paper? In asian markets (which I am sure you have a plethora of in Kentucky) they sell circular sheets for making spring rolls.

  2. What about large communion wafers? At least here in the southwest, you can find them (unblessed, presumably?) in Latino markets. I’ve seen fairly big ones – 5-6 inches in diameter. Or rice paper/wrappers for Vietnamese spring rolls? Or wheat spring roll wrappers – the very thin kind typically in the freezer section of Asian markets, NOT the thick noodle type you can get in the refrigerated section.

    1. Also I didn’t know you could buy wheat spring roll wrappers. Very interesting. Thanks!

  3. Could you just make your own Back-Oblaten? If you figured out how to make them your next step could be finding more recipes that implement them!

    1. I confess I’m leaning toward a home-made solution. I mean…how hard can it be?

  4. Hi Joe,

    What about using something like rice paper that’s used for making spring rolls? It is very thin and brittle until it is soaked in water. I’m not sure if it would “disappear” into the batter though. Your idea of the brik pastry is a good one too, but more work.

    Best regards,


    1. Yes indeed. How to split the difference between convenience, function and authenticity? It’s a toughie!

      – Joe

  5. I don’t think the rice paper for spring rolls would work very well (too tough), but the rice paper for macaroons (not macarons) and panforte should be ideal. You can get that can’t you? We have it in the supermarket, and we are not a country of Linzertorte/Panforte/Macaroon makers. It’s what I assumed the recipe in my book was requiring.

  6. Funny, I picked up a pack of back-oblaten at a Swiss pastry shop here last year and have never opened them. I was thinking of making the Mexican sweet that has dulce de leche or cajeta sandwiched between 2 of the wafers but kind of forgot about it. Mine are quite small diameter and I’m happy to post them to you if you’d like.

  7. uhhhmmm… the Linzer-batter is usually a rather stiff batter, that’s why most people pipe it into the baking-dish. So actually it will be able to support and hold the jam in place. I can testify that. It will look “homemade” though, but then again… it is.

    1. Hey Tom! Me, I’d rather try it with some sort of barrier there. I can’t help it if I’m the tidy type, can I? 😉

    1. Wafers, for sure. They’re a type of waffle. In fact decorative wafer irons dating back to the Middle Ages still exist! Do a google search and you’ll see some.

      – Joe

  8. Haha, for me as a german it’s funny that the non-availability of a product like “Back-Oblaten”. We use it for many Christmas-Cookies like tons of different Macaroons and those flat Lebkuchen. And of course as a juice-/moisture-barrier.
    And as if there are not even enough alternatives mentioned yet: I know a german Cheesecake-recipe that calls for thin biscuit as moisture-barrier between the shortcrust and the cheesecakebatter… works well!

    1. Thanks Nik….I think! 😉

      But then you guys don’t have pumpkin in cans. So there!

      – Joe

  9. Thanks for rubbing that in Nik! I was just about to post that I’d love to get my hands on some Oblaten to bake Lebkuchen at Christmas. I love a good internet search challenge, and I’m just guessing there’s a specialty shop somewhere that sells them…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *