14 February 2010

Linzer Tart


I am not one of those people who always keeps bread in the house. I also don't freak out and a run to the store when the weather forecast says snow. I actually like walking the 4 blocks to my little local grocery in the snow.

But last week with three feet of snow on the ground, not only did I not have bread, I didn't even have any flour. I trudged to the store only to find no bread, and no flour (for the record the store had just about everything else you could want). So, I trudged several more blocks in white-out conditions only to find the same situation at the next store. At this point icicles were forming on my eyelashes, so I resigned myself to going back to my sadly starch-less home. The thought of being stuck at home for days without even a baking project to entertain me was making me pretty desperate, as I contemplated grounding my remaining almonds into flour, or making a flourless cake.

And that was when I realized that I should make a linzer tart.

Back at home, warm and with my boots dripping by the front door, I found a lonely half cup of pastry flour lingering in the back of my pantry. I painstakingly picked all the hazelnuts out of a bag of mixed nuts (hey, there wasn't much else to do), and ground them with some almonds into a rough flour. Adding butter, flour, and spices, and voila, a dough was made. A few slicks of homemade jam, and a stint in the oven, and two sweet little tarts were there to see my sugar-tooth through the storm.

Just in time for Valentine's (or Chinese New Year, or the Olympics, or whatever you want to celebrate this week).

Linzer Torte
This classic Austrian pastry hails from the town of Linz. You may also find it is very reminiscent of the Pepperidge Farm linzer cookies your mom put in your lunch box as a kid.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (about 2/3 cup before grinding)
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (about 2/3 cup before grinding)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
a sprinkling of lemon zest
8 tablespoons softened butter
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup raspberry jam

1. Combine the dry ingredients for the dough, plus the lemon zest, stirring to combine. Using a pastry blender, food processor or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg white and mix until the dough comes together (if the dough is dry add a splash of water). Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Let the dough come back to room temperature, then roll the dough out and fit into an 8" tart pan. Cut remaining dough into shapes as desired. Spread jam inside of tart, decorate with cut-out shapes. Beat the remaining egg yolk with a bit of water and brush over the pastry.
3. Bake 35 minutes or until deeply golden and firm. Cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

7 comments:

noonionplease said...

Hello! Sorry for off topic but I would like to ask you something and I haven't found your email on the site. I have noticed you live in Washington D.C. I'm gonna visit your city in May and would like to ask you if you could maybe recommend me some stores with kitchen gadgets :) Thank you very much :)

tasteofbeirut said...

Love your tarts! Don't they say necessity is the mother of invention?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mercedes!
I'm a high school senior in Taipei and I'm taking a class on the history of the modern Middle East. I'm thinking of writing my term paper on how food (especially felafel) has shaped Israeli/Palestinian national identities. I was wondering what you know on the topic. Any help would be wonderful--I've learned so much from your blog already. Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

My name is Jane, and I stumbled upon your blog one day while looking for a tabouleh recipe!

I just wanted to say that I have prepared a few of your dishes and they have been GREAT! I'm a vegan (no animals or animal by-products) but you have a surprising amount of vegan-friendly dishes. I'm also going to start making my father, who does eat meat, some of your lamb based dishes.

I'm excited to try your overnight apple cake next week!

Thanks! xo

fkit said...

This recipe is fantastic. I used only almonds for nuts and my mom's fig jam. It was divine.

queencake and titangirl said...

hi mercedes!just wanted to tell you that i have already made your favourite salad twice and it`s quickly become my favourite salad, too:)thanks so much for the recipe!have a good weekend,anja

Mercedes said...

NoOnion- Hi, I'd definitely recommend Hill's Kitchen, which is right across from the Eastern Market metro. They're my go to resource, and because the store is just by Eastern Market, you can make a whole food-centric day out of it.

Anonymous- oo, the felafel conflict. I think I've actually avoided writing about that for sometime now :) I can work on writing a post on that, but I don't have any specific insight on that at the moment. You should definitely do some history research as a starting point.

Queencake- Sooo glad you like the salad! It's still my current favorite.