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.
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.
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 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.
If 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.
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’.
- 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)
- Grease an 20 cm (8-inch) removable base tart pan well and line the bottom with baking paper.
- Sift together brown rice flour and white rice flour.
- 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.
- Add almond meal, caster sugar, and lemon rind to butter and flour mixture. Gently stir with a fork to combine.
- Beat together almond essence and eggs and add to bowl. Mix until the dough starts to come together into a large ball.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.