Just Dessert

Linzertorte Braun (Brown Linzertorte)

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Bill asked me to make Linzertorte for this year's Oktoberfest/Oktoberfeast dessert.  He had some for the first time this past July when we had family visiting from Ohio.  They had spent some time at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont before arriving on our doorstep, and they'd brought us a Linzertorte from the Trapp DeliBakery.  It was delicious.

I think Linzertorte has now become one of Bill's favorite things.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Anyway, I looked through some cookbooks and found the following recipe in the cookbook Kaffeehaus – the same book in which I found the recipe for Crullers not too long ago.

(The only major change I made to the recipe was the jam.  I used homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam because I have loads of it in the pantry.)

Here's the recipe as written in Kaffeehaus, by Rick Rodgers, along with photos and the occasional note by me. 

Oh! - Don't be thrown by the pictures! – I doubled the recipe when I made this the other day!  So you'll be seeing more than the amount indicated by the recipe.  Sorry!

Linzer Dough

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

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1  1/4 cups (7 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted and peeled (I also used some sliced almonds) (I also had bought already-chopped hazelnuts, and I decided I didn't feel like peeling the million bits of nuts.)

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1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

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Grated zest of one lemon

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1/4 teaspoon salt

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14 tablespoons (1  3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

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2 large egg yolks

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1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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1 large egg, separated

Pinch of salt

1 cup black currant, red currant, or seedless raspberry preserves

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1 tablespoon milk

3 tablespoons sliced almonds, for garnish

Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

~~~

1.  To make the dough:  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the flour and hazelnuts until the nuts are ground into a fine powder. 

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Pour the mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar, cocoa, lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. 

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Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crunbly. 

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In a small bowl, mix the yolks and lemon juice.  Using a fork, stir into the flour mixture until it clumps together. 

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Press the dough into a ball, and divide equally into two thick disks.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and regfrigerate until firm, at least 60 minutes and up to overnight.

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2.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper.

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3.  Crumble one of the dough disks into the pan. 

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Press firmly and evenly into the pan, bringing the dough 1 inch up the sides.  (If the dough is very cold and cracks while using, the heat of your hands will eventually soften it.)  The dough will be quite thick, about 1/4 inch at the sides. 

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Prick the dough with a fork and freeze for 10 minutes.  (I forgot to prick the dough with a fork prior to freezing. Also, I would freeze for a longer period of time, maybe 25-30 minutes instead.) 

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In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until foamy.  Lightly brush the inside of the shell with some of the beaten white. 

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Place the springform on a baking sheet and bake just until the dough is set, about 15 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

4.  Let the other disk of dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.  Spread the preserves in the shell.  IMG_3072
Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 1/4 inch thick circle.  Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into 3/4 inch wide strips. 

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Arrange the strips over the jam in a lattice pattern, trimming as needed, pressing the ends of the strips to the side crust.  (Don't place them too close together – they widen when the bake, and you want to make sure the jam shows through.  Mine were probably too close together.) 

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If the strips crack, piece them back together.  Gather up any odd strips and trimmings and press a thin layer of dough all around the edge of the crust, securing the ends of the strips.  (Discard any leftover dough.) (Now that I've made this torte, I think it should go back in the fridge again after the lattice layer is made.  I think the butter in the dough needs to be very cold when it goes into the oven, otherwise it will start melting immediately, leaving you with a spreading dough that leaks grease onto the pan.)  In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the milk.  Brush the strips lightly with the egg-yolk mixture and sprinkle the top with the almonds. 

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Bake on the baking sheet until the preserves are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

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5.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the torte, then cool completely in the pan on the rack, at least 3 hours.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Invert the torte onto a plate and peel off the parchment paper (it may tear off in pieces, but keep at it).  Invert again onto a serving plate.  Sift the confectioners' sugar over the torte and serve.

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Make Ahead

The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerated.  Let stand for 10 minutes before using.  The tart can be baked up to 2 days ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature. 

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I mentioned earlier that I had doubled the recipe.  I made one full-size and four smaller linzertortes in my 4" springform pans. 

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I gave one to our friends across the street, and the others to the three groups of family/friends who came to our Oktoberfest.

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The cinnamon and cloves give the linzertorte a spicy aroma and flavor reminiscent of cookies like lebkuchen and pfeffernusse.  The texture is crumbly and crunchy, with the sweet layer of jam in between.  Fabulous.

And it's not just for dessert – this would be terrific for breakfast with a good cup of coffee or tea.  I mean really – you've got nuts and fruit!  And it tastes WAY better than a commercially produced cereal bar!

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