Mixed Berry Snowflake Linzer Torte Bars. One last Linzer recipe for the year. And it's a good one.
The Linzer torte is perhaps the most famous Austrian dessert. Hailing from Linz, Austria of course, it' s a shortcrust pastry made with nuts, usually almonds or hazelnuts or both, spices, plenty of butter, layered with jam, usually raspberry or red currant, and a lattice topping made of the same shortcrust pastry. Served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
When I was looking for bake tips, in regards to time and temperature, when making these Linzer torte bars in a sheet pan rather than a round pan, I came across this Linzer Torte from the gorgeous German blog, ZuckerZimtundLiebe. German for "Sugar, cinnamon and love". I adore how they made theirs with trees in place of lattice. So my design with snowflake cut outs is inspired by their gorgeous torte. I have bookmarked a few recipes of theirs to try soon. Everything looks amazing.
Linzer tortes are typically make in a round, short sided pastry pan with a removable bottom so its easy to pop out and cut. I wanted to make it more like a cookie and make it into bars so I went with a half sheet pan. I also went with cut out snowflake shapes in place of the traditional lattice since I am really awful at making a lattice pie crust.
The dough gets divided into two pieces. ⅔ of the dough for the base of the torte, ⅓ for the snowflakes. The base layer gets chilled then covered in jam.
Top with the snowflakes then chill before baking. The torte wont look quite done on the top but as long as the edges are golden, the jam is bubbly and the cookies look set it is done. The torte will set up as it cools.
The recipe for my Linzer torte bars is adapted from the book, "the Art of Viennese Pastry" by Marcia Morton. The same book I used for my Linzer Kipferl cookies. I also took inspiration from the Almond Chocolate Cinnamon Linzers cookies I made this year. The original recipe used walnuts and breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are used often in Austrian baking. I opted to not use them in this recipe.
How to make amazing Mixed Berry Snowflake Linzer Torte Bars:
- Just like my other Linzer cookie recipes, chilling is the name of the game. Make the dough, divide into sections for the top and the bottom, wrap and chill. Roll out for the snowflakes and for the bottom dough. Chill again. Top with jam, place snowflake cut outs on top and chill again. The chilling helps set the butter so it doesn't melt and make a huge mess of the torte when baking.
- I use both almonds and hazelnuts for this recipe. I got some gorgeous hazelnuts from a friend who imported them from a family friend in Italy and I had plans to use them in these bars. When using whole or sliced nuts in a recipe to make a coarse meal, grind in a food processor to do so. Add in a half a cup of flour from the recipe, not extra flour, and pulse until you get a texture similar to coarse corn meal. Alternately you can use almond and hazelnut meal from the store. I like Bob's Redmill brand for these.
- Traditional linzer torte uses either raspberry or red currant jam. I love the Four Fruits jam from Bonne Maman and that is what I used. It has cherries, raspberries, strawberries and red currants. It is perfect for this torte.
- These bake at 350 Deg F for 30-35 min. You don't want to bake longer then that you will risk burning the bottom of the torte. The snowflake cut outs on top will start to turn golden and look a little underdone but trust me that they are and will firm up more as the torte cools.
- I cool at room temperature then cool all the way in the refrigerator before dusting with powdered sugar. Cut into squares or triangles. Servings depend on how big or small you cut the pieces.
- This keeps well at room temperature for a few days, frozen up to three months. Thaw before serving.
A few more notes about this Mixed Berry Snowflake Linzer Torte Bars:
- This recipe makes one 9x12 inch pan of torte bars. You can make it in a round pan if you like. I have not calculated the dough to see if it will work for one round pan or two. It is more like a one and a half times recipe for a single torte since I adapted to fit a half sheet pan.
- Use any jam you like
- You can make a lattice top instead of cookie cut outs. Up to you
- Another option for a crisp top is to do an egg wash. I opted not to this time. When I tested the recipe I made tortes with the egg wash and without. They were so similar to me I decided to leave that step off.
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (10 ¼ oz)
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 200 g ground hazelnuts (coarse meal - see notes)
- 100 g ground almonds (coarse meal - see notes)
- 1 c granulated sugar (3 ⅝ oz100g)
- ½ c brown sugar (4 oz/115 g)
- 2 lage egg yolks
- 1 ½ c butter, cold, cut into cubes
Filling and topping
- 1 ½-2 cups mixed berry jam ( I used Bonne Maman Four Fruits)
- Powdered sugar
There are two ways to mix the dough. Either combine everything except the butter into a food processor and pulse until mixed. Or whisk together in a large bowl.
Add in the cold, cubed butter and pulse again until combined in food processor or using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold, cubed butter in the mixing bowl until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
If using a food processor transfer to a large bowl before the next step.
Mix the dough together with your hands until the dough comes together. It will be little crumbly at first but will come together once kneaded.
Divide the dough into thirds taking ⅔ for the base of the torte and ⅓ for the snowflake cut outs on the top
Shape into discs, wrap in plastic and chill for a few hours up to overnight. You can also freeze for half an hour.
Cut a piece of parchment paper long enough to hang over two sides of a 9x12 inch baking pan. This makes it easy to lift out the whole torte at once when chilled. Butter the pan then set the parchment on top.
Roll out the chilled ⅓ dough for the snowflakes between two pieces of waxed paper. Chill the dough for a few minutes then cut out with various snowflake cutters. If you have an embossed cutter, dip in flour first. Chill again before removing the cut outs. I pop these into a freezer set on a baking sheet. Easy to remove the cut outs with a thin spatula after being frozen for about 20 minutes.
Take the remaining ⅔ dough disc and roll out between two pieces of wax paper to roughly the size of the pan then set into the pan and press evenly with your hands, taking any excess dough from one side to press into another side that has less. Smooth as evenly as you can with a piece of wax paper over it.
Chill the dough in the pan until firm, 30 min or so in the refrigerator, 20 min in the freezer. Once firm spread the dough evenly with jam and then place your snowflakes over the top however you like. Chill again while you heat your oven to 350 Deg F (177 Deg C)
Bake the torte for 3-35 minutes or until golden. Do not over bake. The dough will firm up once cool.
Let cool in the pan until completely cool then chill in the fridge to set up before removing from pan and cutting. Remove torte from pan using the parchment paper and slide onto a serving tray or plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares or triangles. You can serve chilled or at room temperature.