Making Linzer Torte

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.

20 thoughts on “Making Linzer Torte”

  1. Am I the only one left dreaming of a plain old jam tart? I had a friend who made magic with an apricot tart, the recipe for which she swore she would share and sadly never did …

    1. Nothing wrong with a jam tart, Laura! Nothing at all. I should probably make one now, eh?

      – Joe

  2. Looks good, Joe!

    Just a little on the flat side and the pre-baking of the cake (before the jam) is something I have never heard of. It seems also the fat/flour ratio is a tick too much on the fat-side.

    I understand that using raspberry preserve will bring the whole cake more to the… lovely side, while red currant is a bit tart and very sour. I will try to use raspberry next time.

    Soooooo well done, Mr. Pastry!

    1. Hey G — thanks!

      I guess even though I can say “torte” I’m still thinking “tart”…at least shape-wise. A thicker torte is an easy thing…just add more batter and/or use a smaller pan. This batter has no leavening, just air bubbles, so more height simply means more batter volume. Funny, I had plenty extra…it just never occurred to me to go higher. This 10” torte could have easily been 50% thicker.

      But that is current jam, there. I spared no expense!

      – Joe

      1. You know… I might be pushing my luck here, but why not do a second version of the Linzer, the one you initially planned with raspery and shortcrust and all? Classic vs. modern, old school vs. new school, the clash of titans, when worlds collide… 🙂

        But I see, you’re already on a new topic.

        1. I like the ideal of a Linzer throwdown, but you’ve sold me too well, Mr. T.

          Short crust Linzer torte will never taste the same to me now…

          – Joe

  3. A lovely lovely alternative to be bothering with tart shell, frangipane and such. It looks lovely and I think I will just bake the batter and eat it as a cake…being lazy and all 🙂

  4. Looks wonderful! It’d be interesting to try a little egg white brushed on the top of the par-baked torte when still hot, to help separate the jam. Works for blind-baked pie crust, maybe for this, too?

    1. Ooh, nice idea! Brush some egg white onto the hot crust right when it comes out of the oven! Great stuff, Julie.

      – Joe

  5. I see I’m somewhat tragically late to the Linzer Fete, but I thought I’d share nonetheless. I live in very rural Alaska and my German mother’s birthday is drawing nigh. These are significant because the former causes me to do nearly all of my shopping via the internet, and the latter because my mother has a penchant for liquor-filled chocolates. I usually purchase said chocolates from, and after reading your post about the lack of Oblaten-availability in the U.S., wondered if they wouldn’t carry such a thing.

    Lo and behold, they do. Not sure if it helps, but now you know.

    1. Nice! Thanks, Stephanie! I’ll keep that in mind for the next time!

      Funny, I was just yesterday watching a nature documentary about a fellow in rural Alaska who raises wolverines. My little girls thought life in the deep woods in winter looked so attractive, they want to move there immediately. They’re tired of mild Kentucky winters…they want some snow!

  6. Made the mistake of replacing the whole nuts with powdered nuts for exact weight and ended up with a very rich dough that would not bake up in the given time. So ended up with a gooey centre and had to bake for a longer time for firmer texture. Sigh.

  7. In the Linzer tart recipe, does 110z of flour mean one 8 0z cup plus 3 oz or does it mean ll0z of weighed flour which would be more like 2.5 cups.

    1. Hey Paul! All the measures on the site that are shown in ounces are by weight.


      – Joe

  8. Over and over again, I am so thankful for your site! All of the proper Linzer Tortes I’ve found have directions in German. I’m good, but not that good.

      1. Yesterday I made this for a friend’s birthday and it was a great success. Because I am ever the meddler and can never leave well enough alone, I made a small adjustment. Instead of blind baking, I assembled the whole torte and then refrigerated it. After an hour, I put it in a hot oven on a hot sheet tray. It took much longer to bake (gosh, 45minutes, maybe?), but held the shape of more decorative piping pretty well. Also worth mentioning, I used strawberry conserve and rhubarb jam.
        Thanks again!

        1. Well done Johanna! Thanks for checking in with the tips. I greatly appreciate it.

          – Joe

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