Anyone engaging in a serious search for the true origin of the Linzer Torte soon finds him- or herself travelling between Egypt, Verona and Milwaukee in the American state of Wisconsin. At least in their thoughts. The oldest recorded tart recipe in the world was written down by a countess in Verona and is today to be found in the Admont Monastery library. A cake-maker, who moved to Linz in 1822, used the recipe to create the “Linzer Masse”, which was the basis for the grandiose Linz Torte. Today it is the culinary emblem of the capital city of Upper Austria.
250 g butter
250 g flour
125 g icing sugar
150 g ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
Generous quantity of cinnamon powder
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of salt
Grated lemon rind or lemon juice
Wafers for layering, to taste
Egg for coating
Redcurrant jam for coating
Butter for the mould
Flaked almonds, to taste
How to make it:
Create a pile of flour on the work surface, slice the butter into cubes and rub between the fingers into the flour to create a light crumb. Flavour with the cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves and a little salt, together with the lemon rind or lemon juice and ground nuts. Work quickly to form a smooth short pastry, shape into a ball, cover with film and leave to rest in a cool place for approx. 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C. Grease a suitably-sized spring form cake tin and then dust with the bread crumbs to prevent the dough from sticking.
Now press a little over half of the dough onto the base of the tin, using the knuckles of the fingers. Shape the remaining dough into several small rolls (for the lattice) and one thicker roll (for the edge). If you like, cover the pastry base with wafers, and then coat with smoothly-stirred jam, leaving about 1 cm all round for the edge. Place the thicker roll into the tin as an edging, and press down gently. Use the thinner rolls to create a lattice. Sprinkle with flaked almonds to taste.
Coat the dough with the beaten egg and bake in the pre-heated oven for 50–60 minutes. Take out the tart, leave to cool, and ideally leave to stand for a day, wrapped in film.
Other recipes suggest that the Linzer Torte is made using a softer dough, which is squeezed into the mould in a lattice shape using a piping bag.