A layer of raspberry jam is spread between a rich, buttery, hazelnut cookie dough. The crisscrossed lattice top is the signature design of what may be the oldest recorded pastry; the Linzer Torte. It was developed in Linz, Austria around the year 1650 and has been made much the same way ever since. Why fix it, if it is perfect just as it is. However, I can rarely leave things as they are, so I made them in bite sized portions.
There is a version of this same dessert in England and they call them Jam Biscuits. Today, after watching the Royal Wedding I think it fitting that we bake something British, even if they originated elsewhere. Check out the Linzer Cookie I made for the Cooking Channel blog, same ingredients, different look!
Mini Linzer Tortes:
(makes about 18 4-inch tarts)
3 ounces hazelnuts, lightly toasted
2/3 cup sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 ¾ cups cake flour (measure with scoop and sweep)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
raspberry jam for spreading between the cookies
To make the Linzer dough:
Before grinding the nuts I roll them between my fingers to remove some of the skins, but not all. I like the look and flavor of the dough when some of the skins are left on. In a food processor, grind the nuts and 1/3 cup sugar until they are a very fine powder. Adding a bit of the sugar prevents the nuts from becoming a paste. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk together the cake flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and zest; beat until incorporated. Add the flour and the nuts, mix just until the dough comes together.
Separate the dough into two disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. The dough can be frozen for up to a month.
To bake the mini Linzer Tortes:
Preheat the oven to 350°F, with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Roll half of the dough out on a well-floured surface to ¼ -inch thick. As the dough warms up it will get sticky, so be sure to use plenty of flour. (If using a 9-inch pan, carefully lift the round into the tart pan. Don’t worry if it cracks, you can press it back together.) If use a 4-inch Round Cutter to cut the dough. You can reroll the dough that is left as scraps. Fit the rounds into the mini tart pans.
Cover the bottom of the tart with jam, leaving a space around the edge to adhere the lattice top.
Between a sheet of parchment (or wax paper) and a sheet of plastic, roll out the other piece of dough. You want to roll it to 1/8-inch thick, which is difficult to achieve when doing it on the counter, it just gets too sticky.
Peel up the plastic.
Using a Pastry Wheel cut strips of dough. For the 9-inch version they can be as thick as an inch wide, but for the 4-inch tarts they should be no more than 1/2-inch wide.
If the dough is too sticky to handle at this point, put the parchment and dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes, or until it will peel off the paper easily. For the smaller tarts you will want to cut these strips into smaller pieces.
You may have extra dough after creating your tarts, which you can save and make into the cookies on the Cooking Channel blog.
If making the small tarts, trim the lattice tops with a cookie cutter, so they fit nicely. You may need to freeze them again for a couple of minutes.
Once they are frozen they are easy to lift and place over the jam filled bottom layer of dough.
Press the edges together, so they will bake into one piece.
Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the Linzer Torte. They should be golden brown on top.
Let them cool to room temperature and enjoy with tea (in honor of the Royal couple) or milk (in honor of my 10 year old son).