Labor day weekend is supposed to mark the close of summer, so why is it still in the high 90s outside?
I look forward to September because it starts the series of -ber months and my favorite time of the year. Fall weather, fall fashions, and the holidays are just around the corner. I love this time of the year because it also means lots of parties, get togethers, celebrations, and many opportunities to share my desserts with others.
This summer, I fell in love with canning and jam making. As if this summer wasn’t hot enough, I spent countless hours in my steamy kitchen making jams and preserves. I tend to over romanticize things from the good old days. You name it and I’ve probably gone through a phase where I’ve been obsessed with it… cross-stitching, flower arranging, stamp/coin/anything collecting, the art of letter writing, manners and table etiquette and now it’s all about canning.
Canning is making a comeback, or so I read from food magazines. Canning was a means to preserve the fruits and harvests from summer/fall to last you through the harsh and bare winters. That is hardly the case nowadays. Oh well, at least its good to know I will have enough jam to last me through any big natural disaster.
With my surplus of raspberry jam I decided to make one of my fall favorites, the linzer torte. This is an Austrian dessert named after the city of Linz. As a torte, it is a sort of cake made with ground nuts and little to no flour. Not everyone is familiar with the linzer torte, but I’m sure a lot of you have tried its cookie version, the linzer cookie/sable.
The linzer torte is simple and easy to make. I love this recipe because I use an almond cookie dough for the crust. Traditionally, linzer tortes are made with ground hazelnuts. I swapped in almonds because I wanted something a bit lighter and refreshing to deal with this hot summer that refuses to end.
Yield: makes 1- 9
- 4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 1/2 oz granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 4 1/2 oz ground blanched almonds, fine
- 4 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 18 oz raspberry jam (recipe follows)
- egg wash ( 1 large egg + 1 Tbsp milk + pinch of salt)
- Cream together butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light in color. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla paste.
- Add the egg and beat until combined. Sift together ground almonds, flour, and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture in three additions. Mix just until dough comes together.
- Flatten dough into a small rectangle and wrap in plastic. Let chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Once dough is slightly chilled, cut 1/3 of the dough and place back in the refrigerator. Take the remaining 2/3 and roll out on a lightly floured table. Roll dough evenly to line a 9 inch fluted tart shell with a removable bottom. Press dough into the shell.
- Spread the raspberry jam on to the prepared tart shell with a mini offset spatula.
- Take the remaining 1/3 dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out on a lightly floured table into a rectangle with at least one side 10 inches long. Using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or knife, cut out strips to your desired width. (wider widths are a little bit easier to handle)
- Place the strips on top of the raspberry jam filled tart shell. You can do a lattice cross or simply just crisscross the strips.
- Place the tart in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill the dough. The tart can also be made a couple days in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush an even and thin coat over the torte.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until jam bubbles. Check on the crust every 15-20 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. If it browns too fast, cover the crust with aluminum foil.
- Let the torte cool at least 20 minutes before removing from tart shell.
The Little Epicurean