You’ve seen one, I promise you. It’s a tart-like creation with a layer of raspberry preserves on the top, criss-crossed by strips of short crust. Of course it’s no ordinary short crust, but one that’s well infused with almonds, either ground almonds or almond flour. Sure, sometimes people use hazelnuts or walnuts, but almonds are the classic.
It’s called “Linzer” because it hails from the city of Linz, Austria. Linz is up north in Austria, not so far from Vienna and quite close to where Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic all meet. Much of that area (save for Germany) belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to 1918, and the whole thing to the Holy Roman Empire prior to 1806.
It was when Linz belonged to the Holy Roman Empire that Linzer torte is said to have been invented. 1696 according to some, but then the baker who makes that particular claim also maintains that Linzer torte is the oldest “cake” in the world. I find that highly suspect, though I suppose it all depends on what you define as “cake.” Me, I think a Linzer torte is a tart, but who wants to get into a heated argument with an adamant Austrian confectioner? Not me.
Linzer torte is conventionally a two-layer affair: one almond cream, the other raspberry preserves with the lattice work on top. However it’s not unusually to find three- or four-layer versions. I think I’ll stick to two, but feel free to stack yours if you feel the urge. There’s no such thing as too much short crust or almond cream…not in my universe, anyway.