Linzer torte…that’s pretty much just a jam tart, right? That’s what I thought going into this. Oh, how wrong I was. But I can see why there are so many short crust, tart-like Linzer tortes in the world. Not only are they easier to make, if you add a layer of some sort of almond cream/frangipane to them you can approximate the taste of the real thing. However you can’t duplicate the texture, which isn’t flaky but rather moist, rich and cake-like.
I’d like to thank reader Gerhard for being such a pain in the neck about this, as well as all the other better-than-Joe bakers and pastry makers out there who weighed in with tips. This would have been a very run-of the-mill jam tart without you, gang.
I made this tart using a 10″ tart ring, which is a handy sort of contraption to have if you don’t own one. Basically, it’s just a thing that holds the crust in place during baking. Once the tart (torte) is done you just slip the ring off, wash it and…make another tart! For a taller torte (and I understand that taller is more traditional than flatter) use a standard tart pan and go higher with the batter.
But see how it works? The parchment-lined sheet pan becomes the “bottom” of the pan, as it were. Here I greased mine then lined it with a strip of parchment. It wasn’t technically necessary, but then I really hate sticking…and batters, even very rich ones, can be sticky.
So then, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Armed with a piping bag full of Linzer batter (with a collar, but not tip), pipe the batter in a spiral starting at the outside of the pan and working your way in. The batter is enough to fill an 11″ tart pan. If you have extra…make cookies!
But where was I? Oh yes. You need not be neat about it since the batter will smooth out as it bakes into a flat bottom layer. How long do you par-bake it? Glad you asked: 15 minutes, until just brown.
I’d deliberated quite a bit this week about how to separate the jam and the batter. I’d considered everything from spring roll wrappers to blintzes as replacements for the traditional German/Austrian Back-Oblaten (baking wafers). That is, until reader Rob woke me up to the fact that a simple par-baking would do the job. Did it work perfectly? No, the jam leeched in a bit, but not nearly enough to ruin the texture of the tart, which was magnificent. Next time I’ll paint on some egg white while the cake is still hot, like reader Julie suggested. Brilliant!
So anyway, slather on your jam. Red currant is traditional, and can be found in most specialty shops, but raspberry will also work. Be sure to leave about half an inch of space all the way around the edge.
Next, pipe on the lattice. Here I should say that I should have taken reader Rob’s advice and added a little more cake flour to this dough. That would have allowed it to keep its piped shape to a large extent. I was being lazy, however, so I left it out. Had I added an ounce more cake flour to eight ounces of batter, I’m sure I’d have had a much better result in the end.
Eh…c’est la vie, eh? Pipe five-to-six stripes straight across using a large star tip. I’m using a #19 here.
Pipe five-to-six more stripes at an angle to yield a diamond pattern.
Then go all the way around the edge to make a border. Here I got a little fancy, but all was for naught.
After 25 minutes in the oven the batter ran. Oh, my lovely pearls!
But you know what? So what if it isn’t perfect. That’s why God invented slivered almonds and powdered sugar. Next time I’ll know.
For now I’m going back for another piece…because this torte positively rocks. A jam tart it ain’t. Nope, it’s much, much better.