We have had a cold, blustery damp week and I was getting sugar withdrawals. I had been too busy to bake and had avoided going out to the shops so consequently I didn’t have anything sweet in the house, not a block of chocolate, no biscuits or cakes to nibble on with morning coffee. This is not normal for me as my children will verify. Their delight in coming into my study or office was to raid the drawers in which were stashed my supply of nibbles including salted nuts, chocolate and sweet and savoury biscuits. I work better when I am munching and as my weight has never varied more than a kilo or two, my diet suits me.
So when my family were coming for Sunday dinner recently I went into overdrive and cooked not only a chocolate cake but a Linzertorte as well. Talk about sugar overload: this was the ultimate in a sugar fix. The walnut and caramelized citrus cake with chocolate ganache is superb cut into small pieces to have with coffee and the jam tart: this was pure heaven.
I took pity on my nephew who is studying and sent him home with a large piece of each to get him through the next day while sitting at his desk but there has still been enough for me this week. I am thinking of hiding the last piece of Linzertorte from my husband but he knows all my hiding places. I managed to snaffle the last piece for the photo.
I will share this recipe as it is the easiest torte to make and so adaptable that you can use any type of nuts and jams you have in your pantry and it will still taste divine. I used almond meal as I had already used my walnut meal in the chocolate cake.
I didn’t have raspberry jam but had a small amount of homemade strawberry jam and topped it up with homemade blackberry jam, which was just as delicious. I blended the ingredients in my food processor makes it quicker but it is just as easy but slower made by hand. As I had a small amount of pastry left over, I have made biscuits sandwiched with jam to consume later in the week.
Timing: Pre heat oven to 180°C / 350°F when you have formed the lattice pattern over the jam.
- 160g almond meal (hazelnut or walnut works just as well.)
- 100g caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (an orange or lime will add a different flavour)
- 200g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 180g butter, unsalted
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, yolks only, gently combined
- 1 cup of jam, (traditionally raspberry, but I used strawberry and blackberry and it is just as delicious. You could use apricot jam also.)
- Toast the almond meal in a frying pan over a moderate heat, or in the oven, until it is lightly coloured and gives off the lovely toasty smell of roasted nuts.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using it.
- Blend the almond meal, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon rind, flour and baking powder in a food processor.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the dry ingredients to make fine crumbs. You can do this in the processor or by hand.
- Add the egg yolks and blend together. You can do this gently in the blender or by hand in a bowl. It is a dry mixture and tends to want to crumble. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to one hour. On hot days, if the dough becomes too soft, just refrigerate it for a while.
- Lightly grease a pan that has a removable base. I use a long 34cm x 11 cm pan, but a square pan or a round 23 cm pan works just as well. Cut off about ⅔ of the dough and roll it out thinly until about 2-4 mm thick. Don’t worry if it won’t roll out just pat it into the pan and up the sides. Place the torte on an oven tray to keep it stable.
- Spread the jam over the pastry. I used the strawberry jam and then topped it up with the blackberry jam. Refrigerate this while you roll out the top sheet of pastry.
- Roll the remaining pastry out until it is also 2-4 mm thick and cut it into thin strips. Place the strips across the top of the jam in a decorative pattern. Diagonal works well to form a lattice pattern. Refrigerate to rest the dough for about 30 minutes.
- Place the torte into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the jam starts to bubble. Remove and cool in the pan before removing the tart. Do this before it is completely cold or it might stick to the sides because of the jam.Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream or crème fraîche to cut the sweetness.