Monday, December 10, 2012

Linzer Torte

What's the first sign of Christmas in your house? I mean in terms of food. Special cookies? Chocolates? Something that someone always sends or brings over?

At my house, there are three German treats that always turn up early in the season. Stollen, a bread with dried fruit in it, Lebkuchen, spiced Christmas cookies, and Linzer Torte, with loads of sweet raspberry jam. You've probably eaten Linzer cookies, often made in a scalloped circle with three dots cut out of the middle so the pretty red jam shows through.

I made a double batch, enough for a large one, a medium, and a teeny personal Linzer Torte, which is the cutest, I think. My mother likes to give them as gifts. They keep very well, and even freeze and thaw quite nicely.

The rich dough is made with finely ground almonds and mashed cooked egg yolks. The almonds should not be blanched. It's fine to leave the peels on.

Mashed egg yolks!

Mashed egg yolks disappear into flour.

The dough is not difficult to make but it's soft when done. It goes into the fridge for an hour so it's easier to handle. The toughest part for me is the strips that go across the top. Hint #1: Don't make them too thin. If they're a little thicker they handle much easier. Hint #2: Don't try to weave them. Just place them on top of each other in the lattice pattern, and they'll come out fine.

Choose a seedless raspberry jam. It should be relatively thick, not runny. Smuckers works very well.

Linzer Torte

1 nine-inch false-bottomed tart pan
or two smaller false-bottomed tart pans

1 1/2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling out)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely ground raw almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 hard-cooked egg yolks, mashed
1 uncooked egg yolk, lightly whisked
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for pan)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups raspberry jam

1 egg
2 tablespoons milk (if 0%, then 1 tbsp milk & 1 tbsp cream)

powdered sugar

Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and cloves into a deep mixing bowl. Blend well. Add ground almonds, sugar, lemon peel and mashed egg yolks. Beat in the butter, uncooked egg yolk, and vanilla. It will look like it couldn't possibly be right. Beat it until it it begins to form a ball and looks like a smooth dough.

Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least one hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. If too stiff to handle, let stand a bit.

Use a paper towel to grease the pan well with butter. On a floured surface, roll out about 3/4 of the dough to a 1/4-inch thick circle with a floured rolling pin and lay into pan. Using your fingers, spread the dough and patch any gaps. HINT: Do not firmly push dough into side crevices. Simply form the sides and use the top rim to trim any excess.

Fill with jam. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread it.

Roll out the remaining dough and any scraps. Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut two 9-inch strips about 1/2-inch in width. Place them across the jam in a + pattern.


Cut additional strips slightly shorter. Place them along the sides of the other strips in a lattice pattern.

Using a thin-tipped knife, loosen the top of the pan all the way around


and bend it over to form a rim.

Lightly beat the remaining egg with the milk. Use a pastry brush to paint it on the pastry. Refrigerate 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven. Bake 40-45 minutes until lightly browned. On removing it from the oven, place on a coffee can or bowl small enough to allow the side to drop away. You may need to loosen the edges with a knife for the side to drop away. Cool five minutes before removing from the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar before serving.


  1. You know me-I LOVE raspberry. The torte sounds great. For me the cookie that signals the arrival of Christmas is...Jingles! Yes, the store bought cookie. I've already eaten 1 whole box...myself. Merry Christmas!

  2. Jingles? I've never heard of them! I'll have to look for them in the store.

    ~ Krista

    1. Never heard of Jingles?!? They're made by Keebler Elves-you can even buy them from Amazon, although they're in all my local grocery stores...and Target. You may be disappointed-but to me they're a taste of childhood!

    2. Can't find them or want to know what they are like? Check these homemade ones:

      Sorry, but anise is not my thing

  3. Love the special tips. That makes it all the more tempting.

    1. We all learn some things the hard way, don't we? Might as well share! : )

      ~ Krista

  4. Krista, simply gorgeous. I love raspberry anything. Do you have a special rolling knife that makes that cute edge on the top of the pie? So pretty.

    Daryl /Avery

    1. Avery, I think that's just an ordinary pastry cutter. They probably don't cost very much. I've had mine forever.

      ~ Krista

  5. Now you have me thinking about the Lemon Snaps recipe I have. It was the only recipe that was passed down on my Mother's father's german side of the family. It was written in costs and not quanities so it has been very hard to translate and makes the kitchen smell like ammonia so I have never made them for my kids. This might be the year to try.

    1. LOL! You're cracking me up, Susie. They make the kitchen smell like ammonia? Why? You might want to enter them in my Christmas cookie contest. I'm looking for cookie recipes that have been handed down!

      ~ Krista

  6. loved the Linzertorte time comsuming to make but well worth it

  7. loved the Linzertorte time comsuming to make but well worth it