A Tart is Born – Lemon Linzer Tort

A Tart is Born!

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Every so often we all get into a rut.  One day looks like the other.  We have the same routine day after day; Get up, go to work, come home.  Weekends all look the same.  We seem to have the same conversations with the same people.  “Hey Mom, How are you feeling?  Good?  Great!   How’s the weather over there? …” .   While some people find routine comforting, I find it blaringly nerve racking.   However, lately I find myself in a sort of cooking rut.  I seem to have a tried and true repertoire of recipes that I keep going to time and time again.  If it wasn’t for Marko doing the mid-week kitchen duties, I’m sure I’d be putting out things from my kitchen that you could set your watch by:  Monday: Meatloaf, Tuesday: Chicken, Wednesday: Spaghetti…

Take this weekend for instance, I’ve been honorably asked by a Slow Food colleague, Henk, to bake cakes and make hors d’ourves for his 60th birthday reception.   “Lisa, you are the best baker I know and I want you to make my birthday cake.”  Wow, I am totally honored!  Henk is a consummate foodie and knows many a good professional baker and chef.  For him to ask a hobby-baker like myself to make his birthday cake is something big for me.   Henk made a few requests that I make my Raspberry-Chocolate Linzer tort and jalapeno-poppers but the rest is up to me. 

My mind starts wandering to what else I can make…Cheesecake, Black Forest cake, brownies, etc.  I go on a few days with these in mind, mentally making a shopping list of supplies.  Then suddenly it hits me.  I ALWAYS make these things.  I made these things for our LAST party.  They’re my standard go-to recipes.  Sure, I can make them in advance, they freeze like a dream, but they are ooh-soo-standard as far as I’m concerned.  If I’m going to make my mark as a Pastry Chef, then I need to be a bit more creative.  I need to make something new. 

Now I really hate to go into a party with something experimental, but I’m going to think up something special.  To play it a bit on the safe side, I’m going to try variations on a theme.  I just love the combination of lemon and poppy seeds, so why don’t try a lemon-poppy tart?   A spicy cookie crust laced heavily with poppy seeds and a creamy lemony filling.  Yeah, it’s worth a try. 

So I take my standard Linzer torte crust recipe and I substitute poppy seeds for the ground almonds.  Then I make a filling using 3 egg yolks, ½ cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of lemonciello (lemon liquor) and a can of sweetened condensed milk.    The filling doesn’t seem enough to fill the crust.  (I’m using a 20cm glass tart pan rather than a standard pie plate).    I debate with myself on whether to fold the edges in or let them stand straight up.  Hmm, I don’t know how much the filling will puff up.

I opt for straight up.  I bake it for 30 mins at 325F.   So far, so good.  The filling didn’t puff up at all.  Now I need to decide on a topping.  Meringue is the obvious choice and it’s been ages since I’ve had lemon meringue pie.    In the meantime, the pie cools and gets put in the freezer.  The party is still a week away.  Introducing Lemon-Poppy Tart.   A tart in born.

The verdicts of the Lemon-Poppy tart are in, folks!!  And the result was a REAL WINNER!!   I topped with soft-peaked meringue (3 egg whites, 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter)  that I beat to the consistancy of marshmellow fluff and topped the tart from end to end.  Made decorative peaks.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 mins until dry on top and the peaks are nicely browned. Watch Carefully!!   Cool Completely.

Even though I made other cakes and pies,  this one had people actually FIGHTING over it.  The contrast of lemon with a hint of alcohol, with creamy meringue atop the crunchy poppy seed crust was divine!  Really!  4 people fighting over the last piece.  The fight was resolved by 1 plate and 4 forks.

In order for you to make the lemon version…you’re going to have to get the original.  Here it is:

Chocolate- Raspberry Linzer Torte

Ingredients

1 1/2  sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

1 egg
5 ounces of almonds, toasted and ground
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt

½ Cup chopped chocolate (milk or bittersweet), melted
1 cup raspberry jam (or your favorite type of jam)

Directions

In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Add honey, orange zest, cinnamon and spices. Continue mixing for one more minute. Add egg. Mix until well blended

Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture until a dough is formed.

Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Grease the bottom and sides of a torte pan. Line the bottom
of the pan with wax or parchment paper. Remove dough from the
refrigerator and divide in two. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick, forming a 15-inch circle. For the second half of dough, roll it to 1/4-inch thick to create a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Refrigerate both the top and bottom for about 20 minutes.

Line the bottom and sides of the prepared torte pan with the circle

For the second half of dough, roll it to 1/4-inch thick to create a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Refrigerate both the top and bottom for about 20 minutes.

Mix the raspberry jam with the melted chocolate.

Remove from refrigerator and fill bottom half with raspberry jam/ chocolate mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Create a lattice with the
rectangular piece of dough by cutting 12 9-inch strips.

Fold the edges of the dough up and over the top of the torte.

Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

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