Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

Linzer torte is a simple and elegant jam-filled almond pastry tart that takes the simple and makes it special. This gluten free version is a treat that everyone can enjoy. Perfect for family gatherings, or as a contribution to a festive meal with friends. 

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

I have a memory caught in my mind of my mother standing at the kitchen counter rolling out the dough to make linzer torte; long elegant fingers delicately handling the dough into the tart pan and trimming the excess and handing the scraps of dough to me to greedily devour, the almond taste new, strange and welcome to my learning taste buds.This is the way memories come back to me: the taste of something unwinds a memory that focuses on snapshots, still frames of sun-stained moments. A childhood memory of watching Mum spoon apricot and raspberry jam between perfectly cut lines of pastry atop a torte, the snapshot of her handing out the scraps for me and Jess to devour from our perches on chairs backed up the kitchen bench.

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

The next time I look in the mirror I see a little more of my Mum there, a little something in the way my eyes tilt down and then crinkle up again when I smile, something in the planes of my face that wasn’t there when I was younger. I am still learning to handle the dough with care, to have a light touch with a rolling pin, to cut those perfect lines of pastry, and it might take me a few more trips to Mum’s kitchen to get it perfect – and there is the most valuable lesson I learned at that kitchen bench, from both my parents, perfection isn’t the goal of life, the goal is to create memories, precious sunlit snapshots of time with the ones you love. That is the best taste, the taste of love.

Linzer Torte | Gluten FreeLinzer Torte is a combination of short, crumbly sweet pastry that tastes like a shortbread cookie, but the best almond-lemon shortbread cookie you’ve ever eaten, and a generous, no, more than generous spread of the best jam you can find, thick and sweet. I recommend using a good jam for this. The kind that you bring out when you have company for breakfast. When the centre of your tart relies on sweet, delicious preserves, you need to use your favourite, good quality type.

Linzer Torte | Gluten FreeIf you are new to pastry, this gluten free, short crust pastry is very forgiving, and while the dough is quite delicate (mine tore while being transferred into the pastry tin) you can patch is without fear. The dough is based on almond meal, and the almond flavour is enhanced with almond essence and lightened with lemon zest and pairs so well with the generous amount of raspberry jam dolloped inside the tart. I topped mine with cut-out stars – it is Christmas after all! Serve slices of this on their own, or take it to the next festive level with some good quality vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLinzer Torte

Gluten Free | Serves 6-8 | Leftovers will keep, covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Note: I place my stick of butter in the freezer about 40 minutes before I need it. Chilled butter makes it easier to rub it into the flour without melting and helps to make the dough crumbly and rich like shortbread.
I used raspberry jam in my Linzer Torte, but you can use your preferred jam/conserve instead. Just ensure that it is real fruit made into jam/conserve, and not ‘fruit spread’.

Ingredients

  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 90 grams white rice flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 125 grams butter, frozen
  • 120 grams almond meal
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond essence (depending on your taste)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup good quality fruit jam (my recommendation is raspberry)

 Method

  1. Grease an 20 cm (8-inch) removable base tart pan well and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Sift together brown rice flour and white rice flour. 
  3. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into sifted flours. Stir gently with a fork and then rub butter into flours until large pea-sized chunks of butter remain.
  4. Add almond meal, caster sugar, and lemon rind to butter and flour mixture. Gently stir with a fork to combine.
  5. Beat together almond essence and eggs and add to bowl. Mix until the dough starts to come together into a large ball.
  6. Sprinkle a large piece of baking paper with rice flour. Place 3/4 of dough onto baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out to a circle about 30 cm (12-inch) diameter and 0.5-.0.7 mm (~ 1/4 inch) thick.
  7. Transfer dough to tart pan and gently lift and press into tart pan. If you experience any tears, just patch them with the dough that overhangs the sides. Trim the sides to the be level with the top of the tart pan. Place tart and extra dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  8. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). 
  9. Remove tart from refrigerator and spread jam evenly across the base. Roll out extra dough and cut out desired shapes. Arrange on the top of the tart.
  10. Bake tart for 25-30 minutes. The edges and shapes on top should start to golden and the jam should be bubbling slightly around the edges.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. 

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf (gluten free)

Chris and I are going away later this week. We are not travelling far, nor for very long, but we are taking a break and getting out of town. We need some time away from our respective offices, ringing phones, and schedules. Some time just to walk on the beach, lie about with a book, and snooze in the midday sunshine. We are lucky enough to be able to go up to the Sunshine Coast and spend a few days there in a midwinter recharge before we come back and finish off our holidays with a few days of stay-cation.

Usually when I have a few days of holiday I set myself lofty goals to achieve, and I end up stressing myself out when I don’t achieve them all. This time I am setting myself only one goal: take each day as it comes and treat each one as a gift. I am going for low stress, high relaxation reward and maximum time in the winter sunshine.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I baked this loaf last Friday night while I was home alone rattling around in the kitchen listening to podcasts. Jess and I enjoyed thick slices with our warm beverages on Saturday morning at the markets and the rest of the loaf is tightly wrapped and waiting in the freezer for slow, lazy holiday breakfasts where I have time to linger with a book and a whole pot of tea to myself. I might even pack a slice or two to nibble when I get back from a morning beach walk. It feels like a holiday bread: coconut and fruit always remind me of waving palm trees and cool waves lapping against the sand.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The coconut in this cake is subtle but layered. Coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut flour, and toasted shredded coconut are all featured and the creamy sweetness is paired with slightly tart raspberries in a breakfast bread that is not too sweet. The crumb is fluffy from the presence of the coconut milk and coconut flour, the top of the bread is browned and sweet like all good crusts should be. Each bite is filled with strands of toasted coconut that lend a little crunch. It pairs perfectly with a cappuccino, or a pot of Irish breakfast tea. This is a quickly made quick bread too. I whisked the ingredients together in about 15 minutes and the largest amount of time was taken up by the baking, which the oven took care of while I put my feet up and started a new book.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few notes before baking: this loaf is gluten free, so that everyone in my house (especially me) can enjoy a slice. If you do not require it to be gluten free you can always use 280 grams (about two cups) of plain flour in place of the brown rice flour, white rice flour, and almond meal. I would not suggest replacing the coconut flour as it is important to the texture and flour of the loaf. Coconut flour is becoming easier to find now too. You can buy it from health food stores, and recently I discovered two different brands in my local supermarket. If you are using frozen raspberries do not thaw them before adding them to the mixture. When thawed they are very fragile and break up easily, which will discolour your batter. You can buy pre-toasted coconut strands in the supermarket, but I save my money and toast my own. Simply spread out onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven as it preheats. Shake every minute or two to ensure the coconut colours evenly. Toast until most strands are changed from white to a light tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool until required. Now, I think you’re ready to get into the baking!

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon of coconut to top the bread and whisk the remainder through the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, coconut milk, eggs, caster sugar, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and coconut essence. Whisk until well combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl combine raspberries and extra tablespoon of brown rice flour. Shake until all berries are covered. This will stop them from sinking in the batter.
  7. Gently stir berries into batter. Take care not to break them up too much.
  8. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly. Sprinkle reserved coconut across top.
  9. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life