Linzer Torte

Sometimes, the best cookbooks start out blank.

My mum has one that she got many years ago which has slowly filled up with recipes written by friends and family. Some were sent as letters, handwritten or by typewriter. Many had the book pressed into their hands after they cooked something for her she knew she would need to cook again. There are recipes from her mother, siblings, partner, and her children. From friends still with us, and those who are not. It is a wonderful book.

This recipe is from that book. Written by a dear friend when they lived in Boston Massachusetts, many years before I was born. My mum has made it every year since I can remember (often at my insistence). And now I make it every year in my own home, to be delivered to friends and family and pressed into their hands when they come to visit. I only make this in December (and maybe the first week of January…) For me it signals Christmas and is made all the more special by it’s seasonal appearance.

I hope you enjoy making it as much as we do. Get the carols on, light a candle, feed your loved ones, lick the jam off the spoon.

Merry Christmas.



Yield: 1 Torte. Easily doubled or tripled if expecting a crowd, or delivering to friends and neighbours.


  • 200g (7oz) + 20g (¾oz) plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 115g (4oz) butter, cubed
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
  • 55g (2oz) ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  Red jam of your choosing, approx ⅔ of a standard jar (raspberry or mixed berry jams are my preference, use what brings you joy.)
  • Icing sugar, to finish

Special equipment:

  • 30cm x 20cm rectangular loose based tart tin (here is the one I use), 27cm round loose based tart tin, or equivalent (can be successfully made on a flat sheet tray in a pinch, just make sure you build a little wall of dough so you don’t lose your jam.)


Sieve the 200g flour, cinnamon, and baking powder together into a large bowl. Rub in the cubed butter with your fingers until well combined. The mixture will look surprisingly like ground almonds. Add both sugars and the ground almonds and rub again until thoroughly mixed, making sure you squash any lumps of brown sugar.

Add the beaten egg. Use a palette knife, spatula, or your hand to bring the dough together until uniformly combined.

Shape the dough into a rough rectangle in the bowl. Cut off ⅔ of the dough and wrap well in greaseproof paper or clingfilm. Add the reserved 20g of flour into the bowl with the remaining ⅓ of the dough,  and use your hand to mix it until well combined. This will make a stronger and easier to roll dough, which we will use to cut shapes for the top of the torte. Wrap well in greaseproof paper or clingfilm and refrigerate both portions of dough until chilled and firm. This will take a minimum of an hour or two, but can also be done up to three days in advance.

When the dough has chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Roll out the larger portion of dough on a lightly floured surface until just large enough to line the base and sides of your tin. The dough will be quite sticky, so keep turning it and adding a little flour where needed to stop it sticking. Line your tin with the dough, trimming to fit if necessary. Do not panic if it tears, it is highly amenable to patching, and no one will notice.

Add the jam and smooth it onto the base using the back of a spoon. I have not been very precise with the amount needed, as it depends on personal preference more than anything else. More than a schmear but not full to the top of the tin, perhaps 5mm-8mm deep if you have a jam ruler on hand. It’ll be between half a jar and a full jar.

Roll out the smaller portion of dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 5mm thick (it will be less sticky and easier to roll than the first dough). Use festive cutters of your choosing to cut out enough shapes to cover the top of your torte. Alternatively, use a knife and ruler to cut lattice strips. Lay your shapes or lattice over the top of the jam (see photos below).

Bake for about 25 minutes, but check it after 15. You may need to rotate it, or reduce the heat a little if it is getting too dark at the edges. Take it out when your kitchen smells absurdly festive and the dough has a good cooked biscuit appearance (it is hard to describe, as the dough is already quite a dark brown.) Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing it to a wire rack. Leave to cool before dusting liberally with icing sugar and cutting into small squares/rectangles/wedges.

I’ve heard it keeps well in an airtight tin for up to a week, though it has a mysterious habit of disappearing much faster than that. I have it on good authority that Santa Claus is a particular fan.



2 thoughts on “Linzer Torte”

  1. Bingle Jells, Cookie. I’ll swap ya, weight for weight, with my Chrimbo-Simnel Cake: another vehicle for nuts and berries. It’s not as photogenic as your torte but more useful in the door-stop trade.


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