“Swiss” Linzertorte – a probably borrowed nationalised treasure

LinzertorteI went for a bike ride and passed a farmhouse – many of them have shops where they sell their produce, homemade liqueurs, fruits, vegetables and the like. And they also sell typical cakes and breads. Now although Linz is in Austria, and therefore the cake above is, I would guess, originally Austrian (forgive me for not researching this one)  every Swiss woman  – (maybe less so the Swiss men,  off top of head can only think of one man who I can imagine having attempted this) has likely made this at least once. It is a staple in bakeries, you can buy it in slices,  I remember having it at my grandmothers, my aunt has a recipe, my other grandmother has  recipe, it’s been around for a long long time. It is so popular that if there were such a thing as a Swiss potluck, which there isn’t, you would certainly find a Linzertorte there. On potluck: when you go round to someone’s for dinner they cook, you eat, that’s the deal, it’s a way of taking care of others, and spending time smothering them with good old-fashioned food – potlucks are alien to traditional Swiss culture, and typically someone will spend hours in the kitchen or else order a catering company to bring the food, rather than get the guests to bring their own. Despite the fact that times are changing, I have never yet been to a potluck that wasn’t expat motivated.

Anyway the torte above was cute, it’s great with a coffee mid-afternoon. Not too sweet. I bought it at the farm shop, but wanted to share the pic and a recipe. Apologies for not putting in cup measures, but really you can follow approximately and still get a perfect result, there are as many recipes as people :

Linzer Torte

Pre-heat oven to 200° Celsius

Dough: Cream 250 g butter with 200g sugar,  add 2 eggs and 200g almond meal (ground with skins on, without skins the meal is too fine for this rustic cake), a pinch of ground cloves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and an optional 1/2 tablespoon Kirsch  ( classic Swiss cherry brandy, you could use slivovice (plum brandy – origins  depending on spelling Poland, Tzech Republic, Ex Yugoslavia and probably other places) if you like, I usually leave it out. Mix well. Add 200g white non-raising flour – mix into a firm dough, by hand is best. (comment – at a pinch – you can  leave out the 1 or both eggs if you like, it changes the texture but as long as at the end of your mixing you have a dough you can shape you are good to go, as said it’s a forgiving type of recipe)

Prepare your tin: Line a spring-form tin with parchment paper ( I just put the parchment paper in the bottom, close the spring-form lid over the top and then tear all the way round) – works well and means I don’t need to cut tidy circles. If you don’t like parchment paper you can just butter the tin well and dust with flour. (tin size 25-28cm)

Filling the tin: Take around 3/4 of your mixture, you can press this by hand onto the parchment paper, the dough is quite butter and will tear easily, so pressing it into shape is easiest. But if you prefer to use a rolling pin, the best way is to roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and then put it into the tin. Make a a little “wall” of pastry around the base so you can add your filling without it spilling out. About the height of one phalanx  (tip of finger to first joint) should do it. Prick the base of the dough well with a fork.

Adding the filling:  Spread 200g redcurrant jam, not jelly, although I often use raspberry jam, and if you wanted to be very healthy or autumnal you could use apple puree, which I quite like as well, apple puree is NOT traditional, AT ALL, but I was looking for a healthier version.

Decorations: Add 3 tablespoons white flour – non-self raising to  the left-over dough – roll out and  1) make strips and then either put a lattice on top, traditional this again, 2)  or else use your cutters to make shapes, and throw in some pastry design leaves for effect. You can really have fun here, or be staid, it’s up to you.

Bake: Torte in hot oven for around 45 minutes. Leave to cool and then serve with a coffee.

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8 thoughts on ““Swiss” Linzertorte – a probably borrowed nationalised treasure

  1. This sounds like the biggest jam tart ever! I might try and make this quite a lot smaller. Love that you explained about the almond meal as I didn’t realise the skins would help with the texture. Easier for me! Now, which jam to use?!

  2. Torte sounds delicious, I might actually make it with my blueberry or plum preserves since I have plenty. But there’s no potluck? Do you never bring a dessert or a bottle of wine to a potluck even? I’d love to go to a Swiss potluck, since I don’t have to bring anything! 🙂

    • Well to be fair – when we go to someone’s house for dinner we bring a bottle of wine + maybe flowers/chocolates, which would be a classic gift, I often bring homemade chili jam/chili plants/ or biscotti, and sometimes dessert, because I love doing it, but for parties there is usually a catering service, for informal parties among friends it’s usually just come and eat, with family members bringing foods. I did make someone a chocolate wedding cake once, but not sure that counts as pot luck although it got “massacred” on the buffet afterwards (the guests cut through all three layers at once from top to bottom – wedding cakes are not really traditional either – the three tiered ones. 🙂

  3. I have some friends who used to invite us for dinner and always ask me to bring a salad!! What? I could never grasp it, why ask someone over and ask them to bring food…especially a salad! 🙂 I guess I kind of broke them of their habit….moral of the story…don’t even ask “what can I bring” when you are invited over…just bring a few bottles of wine. Lovely looking torte.

  4. Great tip – but probably a hard habit to break, although not an issue in Switzerland., Couldn’t agree more on your dinner invitation 🙂 seems to defy the point of inviting guests to dinner and then ask them to BYOF – unless you are having an enormous party or want to showcase different cuisines if you have an international crowd of friends. And a few bottles of wine – are always welcome!

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