Guest Eurovision blog from Zakia follows:
I took on the Austrian cake Linzertorte which I was reliably informed by Alix would be “simple to make but look impressive”. That’s an aspiration to live by, which made me keen to try it out. It’s apparently the oldest cake recipe in the world, dating from 1693, and became internationally known from the 19th century. This is one of the Marguerite Patten 1970s recipe cards.
Grease the 9″ springform tin/loose-bottomed tart pan. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa into the bowl. Add the castor sugar and ground almonds. Put in the margarine and rub together so it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Roll-up the dough and divide into three pieces to chill quicker in the fridge. Take one of the dough lumps before that and press it into the bottom of the spring form tin or tart pan, pressing the dough one inch up the sides. This forms half of the ‘pastry shell’ for the cake. Spread all the jam over this base.
After the rest of dough has chilled for half an hour – it is quite a dry mix, so shouldn’t take long to become firm – roll it out. I went for ½ inch thickness, to make it easier to cut divide it into lattice strips. Layer the strips diagonally across the jam-filled pastry base. If the lattice strips break when lifting from the dough, cobble them together – it isn’t especially noticeable after baking. After completing the lattice, finish with a strip that goes right the way around the edge. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
· The measures are completely wrong! Though I used cups rather than grams, as I had no scales to hand – though 100 grams of plain flour for a 9inch tin seemed a little off in the first place. With the original recipe, I was left with one ball of dough which was barely enough to cover half of the bottom of the tin. I tripled some of the ingredients, but left out the cocoa in the last batch of dough I made up. My final recipe actually consisted of (approximately, based on conversions from cups) 300grams flour, 250 grams of margarine, 250 grams of sugar and 200 grams of ground almond. I also put three tablespoons of cocoa.
· The lattice strips broke off easily when being lifted and there was a lot of cobbling together. Apparently there’s a weaving effect that can look great but I decided to just layer the strips on top of each other – the result was actually quite pleasing once it was baked.
· Baking time was fine, despite having to change the recipe quantities.
· Using a tart pan with a fluted edge will make this cake look super-impressive, if you have one (I didn’t).
(That’s it on the right)
The sturdy appearance of the cake betrays the fact that the pastry is actually quite soft after baking and refrigeration. I wasn’t a fan of the centre but the cake got mixed responses from “too much jam” to “really good” so it seems to depend on having a sweet tooth. In the future, when not panic-baking for Eurovision, I might leave it for a few days after baking as this should make the pastry and jam meld better together and be less of a tongue assault. While there’s not much that can be done about the centre as it’s the torte bit, I’d probably experiment with the pastry and make it a little spicier to make the cake have more flavours – probably leaving out the cocoa to reduce the sweetness. Most importantly, it was a suitable companion to listening to Austria’s 2011 entry by Nadine Beiller titled “The Secret is Love”, which was both a little stodgy and a bit saccharine but well-presented (this isn’t a forced analogy, at all).
Torted by Zakia