Linzertorte Variables

Over the past year or so, I have made a few Linzertortes. I'm not sure exactly how many it's been - maybe 10? I really don't know. They aren't the most frequent thing I bake, but also not the least. So. somewhere in between.

What is interesting though is that a number of variables affect what sort of a Linzertorte you get.
So far I have experimented with cold vs warm butter, but I think there is more that could be tried.
I found that using cold butter results in a cakier final crust, it is softer and crumblier. Warm butter creates a harder, more cookie-like crust - and one that tastes sweeter, meaning you should probably consider stirring some applesauce (unsweetened) into your filling, so the sweetness is not overwhelming. I haven't tried that yet, but I will let you know when I do. Neither type of butter, warm or cold, is bad, just depends on what you like. So if you want a slightly softer Torte, go for the cold butter, if you want a slightly crispier crust, go for the room temperature butter.

Resting time in the fridge before use is another one of those things that might be worth exploring - it matters in cookies, I imagine it might matter in Linzertorte dough. Eggs contain water, but it takes a while for  their moisture to get all the way through the dough and the flour in it, which in cookies creates something that holds together better and has a more crispy, caramelized crust. (In bread too, by the way.) I have not tried that one yet, but I plan to.

Some recipes call for eggs at room temperature, so, while I am at it, might as well see what that does, too. Might make no difference, but there's one way to find out!

Creaming the butter and sugar would probably make a bigger difference. Currently I let them go til "creamy", but more or less mixing probably would make a structural difference. For all I know, the real reason the dough is cakier when started with cold butter is that it gets more time in the mixer, because cold butter sometimes needs a bit more time to be properly creamy. So there is something that maybe needs a timer, or a time limit. My butter cookies certainly come out crunchy using cold butter, but there is no real creaming of butter and sugar there, everything goes in at once.
So perhaps that's another thing to try. What happens when all the butter, sugar, flours and spices go in at once?

Aside from the dough, there is the matter of filling, and filling for the particular dough of choice - mixing in applesauce for a dough that will taste sweeter, for example. Or, what jam to use? I've used raspberry, cherry preserves, and red currant jam. All nice, but different. (The cherry preserves turned out to be the most exciting - most of the cherries were pitted, so there was always that chance for a particularly crunchy bit)

There has also been fun with the lattice, though that is more a matter of aesthetics at this point, the dough for both parts of the crust is the same. The dough is pretty sticky, so it gets a lot of freezer time on wax paper, otherwise you just wind up with sweetened buttery paste all over your hands, and none in the pan. I've been getting better at getting the dough into the pan, undamaged, or at least less damaged, but the lattice topping is still a fun one. The next goal is to get the lattice looking better - the dough spreads, so most of my earlier Linzertortes did not have many holes to see the jam through in the end. The past two I left what seemed like a silly amount of space in between, and the final result was a bit nicer looking, with jam visible after baking. Now that I am getting a better idea for that, I'd like to try thinner strips of dough to make a prettier lattice. The only problem with thinner strips is  that they break more easily in dough form, which is why I haven't tried that til I got a slightly better feel for the dough - sticky dough that breaks and does not always like coming off the wax paper. A lot of time and a freezer help. As does a cold baking sheet to keep your sheet of wax paper with dough on, to buy you a little more time.

 The most recent before and after. 

I may have gotten a little carried away with the spacing on this one.

Trying out all of these may take a while, there are quite a few, so we will see. Maybe I'll come up with more things on top of that. My roommates are, so far, quite supportive of this endeavor, I am sure with their assistance in Torte-eating and discussing, we will have results of some sort eventually.

In any case though, while I have had wildly different results using the same recipe, so far, they have all been good, particularly with a nice spoonful of whipped cream on top and a cup of tea. A jam tart with an almond flour crust is never a bad idea.


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