The other day I brought some Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies into work. A friend happened by and remarked – “Hey, who made the cookies?” I chimed in that I had and she said, “Oh, so you’re baking again….?” and I answered “Well, yes… I guess I am.”
Sometimes we get away from ourselves. We get caught up in all the things we need to do and think about. We get caught up in the day to day traffic of our lives. We become removed from our basic passion for the things that make us feel the most alive and the most connected to who we are. It’s okay. It happens. There is probably a very good reason or maybe several reasons, why I did not bake for a while – learning to ski…, changes at my day job…, Mercury in retrograde – take your pick! Any number of things can cause us to turn away temporarily from our source of inner satisfaction and peace. That said, it is good to be back to baking.
For me baking is both an indicator that I am in my sweet spot (could not resist the pun) and also a remedy when I am out of sorts. Waking up this 4th of July morning without a big plan, I found myself drawn to make a Linzertorte which I had picked up the ingredients for several days ago. Now, if you have a copy of the book then you know that Linzertorte is a recipe from my Grandma Lisl. It is a traditional German nut pastry layered with raspberry jam. I learned to make it when I was about 13 years old. It is my father’s favorite thing, though it is my grandmother on my mother’s side who used to make it. So, I usually bake one for my dad as a birthday present. I am a little late on that, but catching up now.
Since the recipe makes two full Linzertortes I decided to make half the regular way and half with gluten-free baking mix and maple syrup. Not only was I in the mood to bake, I was in the mood to experiment. Ooh la la!!!
The jury is still out on the experimental version… I will be working in my laboratory (uh, I mean kitchen) to perfect that item for all you beloved gluten-free friends and I promise to have it for you soon. Something to look forward to!
Meantime, here it is. Grandma Lisl’s Linzertorte recipe. Thanks grandma, for helping me find my bliss and reminding me to be myself.
3 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
2 1/3 cups ground pecans
2 tablespoons cocoa
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons whiskey
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 ounces raspberry jam
1 egg slightly beaten for egg wash
Using your hands, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Add the sugar, nuts, cocoa and spices. Continue to mix with your hands. Add the whiskey and the egg. Mix together and work into ball. Divide the dough into 6 balls and shape each one into flat disks. Chill overnight.
Remove the disks of dough from the refrigerator about a hour before beginning to prepare the torte. Preheat oven to 300°F. Roll out one disk to about ¼-inch thickness and place it in a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing together any cracks and pressing up the sides of the pan. Watch that the corners do not become too thick. Spread ¼ cup of the raspberry jam thinly to within a ¼-inch of the edge of the pan. Roll out the second layer of dough and cover the layer of jam. Spread with another ¼ cup of the jam. Roll out the last layer. Cut into strips and make a lattice design with them over the top or cut into heart (or maybe star) shapes and arrange in a pattern over the jam. This dough is very fragile, but if you push it together, it heals while baking. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly then add more jam in the open spaces between the strips or hearts while the torte is still warm.
When the torte is completely cool remove the outer ring of the tart pan. My grandmother always said it was best if stored in the freezer for a few months before serving, but I find that it is okay to serve after a day or two of refrigeration. Be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and freezer bags during storage.
Makes 2 10-inch Linzertortes, serving 8 each.
Happy Remember to be Independent Day