When you smell this tart baking, I can guarantee that it will send your senses wild!! The inspiration for this recipe came to me one lazy afternoon. Well, that is a bit contradictory as I do not have lazy afternoons and barely have time for myself, but every now and then (about twice a year, if I’m lucky!) I do get the chance to sit down in front of the telly for about 10 minutes before I have to start working again at 5pm. During my last such lazy session I was watching the Hairy Bikers (not really a relaxing time then, more like a busman’s short holiday!) and they were on their
European tour visiting Linz in Austria. It was really interesting because I learnt that the Linzer Torte is thought to be the oldest known torte recipe in the world.
So, armed with that knowledge, I thought it’s time to do a quick Google search and be inspired to make my own version of a Linzer Torte, so here it is. I have made one fundamental change and that is to use walnuts instead of the more traditional almonds, but the choice of nuts is yours and you can use almonds, hazelnuts or even pecan nuts instead, if you prefer.
That particular week, Mrs Cochrane brought me a couple of kilos of fresh greengages and I also needed to make a new dish for my set lunch dessert menu. Well, hey presto, problem solved as the greengages were turned into jam in a jiffy, so the next stage was to perfect my pastry to make the tart. This pastry is slightly tricky to handle as it’s so short, but it’s well worth the effort as the results are ridiculously fantastic!
You don’t have to use greengage jam for this recipe (though it works very well with the walnut pastry, I must say), you could use another flavour of good-quality shop-bought (or home-made!) jam instead, such as raspberry or loganberry jam or even marmalade.
Ingredients & Method
- 200g walnuts
- 200g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 200g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 200g greengage jam or good-quality jam of your choice
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and get ready a 35 x 10 x 2.5cm fluted oblong tart tin or a 20 x 4cm round loose-based flan tin (there is no need to grease or line the tin as the pastry is very short and turns out easily once baked and cooled). Set aside.
Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly roasted (roasting the nuts will give the pastry a delicious toasted nut flavour; I would do the same with other nuts too). Remove from the oven and cool completely (the nuts can be roasted in advance, then cooled and stored in an airtight container, if you like).
Place the cooled roasted nuts and sugar in a food processor and process together to form fine crumbs (don’t process for too long though as you don’t want the nuts to become a paste). Add the flour and ground cloves and blend for a few seconds to combine. Tip the flour mixture into a mixing bowl, then rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat 1 of the eggs and add it to the rubbed-in mixture, mixing until just combined to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 1–2 hours. The longer the dough is left to chill the easier it will be to work with.
Preheat the oven again to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
Cut off one-third of the dough and return it to the fridge. Take the remaining dough and press it over the base and up the sides of the tart or flan tin. Don’t worry if it is a bit rough and thick – you want about 1cm thickness all over. Trim the edges and return any leftover dough to the fridge with the rest.
Spoon the jam into the tart case and spread evenly, then chill in the fridge whilst you prepare the lattice pastry top. This is the tricky part, so I roll the remaining pastry out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper that is lightly dusted with flour to about 1cm thickness. Cut the pastry into 1cm-wide strips, then arrange them in a lattice on top of the jam-filled tart case. Trim the edges to neaten if necessary, then press and crimp the edges to seal. Beat the remaining egg and brush it all over the pastry lattice, then sprinkle generously with extra caster sugar.
Bake the tart in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown and a delicious smell is wafting through the house.
Remove from the oven (the pastry will be quite soft at this stage, but it will become crisp once the pastry cools and the butter sets), transfer to a wire rack and leave the tart to cool in the tin for about 1 hour before serving. I actually leave my tart to cool completely in the tin, as it’s then much easier to cut. Also, if you cut the tart too early, the jam might still be a bit runny.
Once cool enough to serve (serve the tart slightly warm or cold), cut the tart into slices and serve with Chantilly cream, mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.
Any leftover tart will keep in an airtight container at a cool room temperature for up to 3 days.