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I saw this stunning recipe of a Linzertorte in the recipe book Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning. It looked so warm and appetising, yet something just a bit rustic about it. A Linzertorte, or otherwise known as a Linzer Torte is an Austrian torte (tart) with a lattice design. Usually made from short pastry with a hint of spices such as cinnamon and ground nuts too, and topped with a jam, it really is a wonderful combination. Especially when the pastry is baking in the oven and you get a whiff of the cinnamon and the butter pastry cooking, it’s lovely.

Linzertorte
Serves: 10
Preparation Time: 40 minutes (+ 30 minutes chilling)
Cooking Time: 48 minutes

Ingredients
160 g (1 cup) almonds
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsps ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
250 g unsalted butter, softened
110 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar (superfine)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 egg yolks
500 g raspberry jam
1 egg yolk, extra, lightly whisked
2 ½ tbsps flaked almonds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Spread the almonds on a baking tray and toast for 8 minutes or until aromatic. Set aside to cool. Transfer to a food processor and process until finely ground.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a separate medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add the flour mixture and ground toasted almonds and use a flat-bladed knife and then your hands to mix until a soft dough forms.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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5. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Divide the dough into 3 portions, then combine 2 of them.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the larger portion on a lightly floured work surface to 30 cm (12 inch) round, taking care not to work the dough too much as it will become very soft. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully ease it into a 2 cm (3/4 inch) deep, 24 cm (9 ½ inch) fluted, loose-based tart (flan) tin, pressing it into the edges with your fingertips. Trim any excess by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the tin.

6. Spread the jam into the pastry shell to cover the base evenly (Thin layer – unless your jam isn’t overly sweet).
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7. Roll the remaining dough out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to a rectangle about 20 x 26 cm (8 x 10 ½ inches) and about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Use a fluted pastry wheel or a large sharp knife to cut the remaining portion of dough into 1.5 cm ( 5/8 inch) wide strips.

Arrange the strips over the jam to form a lattice pattern, taking care as the dough will be quite fragile and may break easily. Re-roll any scraps as necessary to make enough strips to form the lattice.
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8. Use a small sharp knife to trim the edges of the strips. Lightly brush the strips with the extra egg yolk and sprinkle the tart with flaked almonds.
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9. Bake for 40 minutes or until deep golden and the pastry is cooked through. Leave in the tin to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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Impressions

It is a very nice pastry I give it that. The addition of the cinnamon, ground cloves gives it a homely aroma (that’s just me) because I love cinnamon. Depending on the jam you use, I find that 500 g of jam is quite generous and as this is the only filling in the tart. It is a bit much and if you do it like I did and added too much to fill up the deep pastry tin.

A thinner layer of the jam can suffice, or if you can preferably find a brand of jam that is not too sweet. If that’s not possible, I suggest pureeing some raspberries and adding a bit at a time to the raspberry jam to give it a bit more tartness. This will hopefully make it not seem like you’re eating a mouthful of sugar.

The pastry really is the star of the Linzertorte and I could eat that short pastry any day of the week. Delicious.

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There is this bakery in  Newmarket/Flemington that has wonderful biscuits. One of these is their crescents which are buttery, light and nutty. I came across a Greek Almond Crescents recipe in the book, Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning. These Almond Crescents are very similar to the ones I found in Flemington but the ones in the recipe book do call for chopped nuts which I don’t recall them being so prominent in their version. These crescents are very easy to make and I don’t think you can really go wrong with the mixing, just knowing when the crescents are done is probably the most difficult part. Check out the recipe below!

Greek Almond Crescents
Makes 38
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients
200g butter (softened)
1/2 cup icing sugar (sifted) plus extra for dusting
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 egg (at room temperature)
1 egg yolk
1 tbs brandy
375g/2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
155g/1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160C (315F). Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking powder.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and orange zest in a small bowl until pale and creamy.

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3. Add the egg, egg yolk and brandy and continue to beat until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

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4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Then stir in the almonds. Add to the butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until well combined.

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5. Shape level tablespoons of mixture into crescents and place on the trays, leaving about 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) between each to allow for spreading

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6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, swapping the trays around after 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Leave on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Dust heavily with icing sugar while still warm then cool to room temperature.

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Impressions

As mentioned above, the difficult parts is probably whisking the eggs and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, mixing the flour in well and letting the crescents bake in the oven for the specified amount of time. If your crescents are larger (they will take more time) so you may want to factor that into your baking time but also a good way to check is if the bottom of the crescent is firm and can easily be lifted up (also a tad brown)

I love these crescents, it has just the right amount of butter but also the cinnamon flavour subtly comes through. If you find cinnamon a bit strong, just half the amount in the recipe and I think you still will be able to taste it. You know the crescents are perfect when it melts just ever so slowly in your mouth. Truly a recipe you wouldn’t want to miss.

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