Linzer torte: a grown-up twist on the humble jam tart

This classic Austrian dish is reminiscent of my favourite childhood treat

Fig Linzer torte. Photograph: Harry Weir

Fig Linzer torte. Photograph: Harry Weir

 

I was obsessed with jam tarts as a child. They were a treat, with essentially only two main elements – jam and pastry – and, much to my mother’s distain, I actually favoured the store-bought versions. While others plumped for the obvious raspberry, I secretly preferred the blackcurrant flavour, dark and rich and sweet and sour all at the same time.

The inspiration for this week’s recipe comes from those jam-tart loving days, in the form of a slightly more grown-up version.

The Linzer torte is a classic Austrian dish, a type of tart filled with a jammy centre and topped with lattice pastry. The dark horse here is the pastry, it uses ground nuts to create a beautiful texture and nutty note, and is scented with citrus zest and spice, adding layers of earthy flavours throughout.

Once fig season is upon us, these jammy and unctuous plump little fruits are the perfect star for this tart. While the fresh fruit can be pricey, I like to use a mix of fresh and dried figs as they both add something different in terms of texture and flavour.

I came across Raymond Blanc using figs with blackcurrants in a dessert years ago, and I thought it a wonderful combination. Here I am using blackcurrant jam to tie all the flavours together, another little nod to my childhood favourite.

The pastry here is quite unique, hazelnuts and almonds are ground to a fine powder, before adding to the remaining pastry ingredients. A little cinnamon and clove add warmth, and lemon and orange zest brighten it up. The pastry dough can get quite soft, so it is best to chill it sufficiently before attempting to roll it. The lattice pattern is the final flourish, and while it is a little fiddly, I encourage you to try it, as it allows the gorgeous jammy filling to shine through the gaps once baked.

The filling needs to be made a few hours or even a day or two before you want to bake the tart, as it needs to be completely cold before layering on top of the pastry. The cooked tart will keep well covered for few days, and any leftover slices can be frozen.

Recipe: Fig Linzer torte

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