linzer torte Recipes

linzer torte

I think if you were to rank foods in order of how intimidating they are to cook, at the bottom of the list would be stuff you throw together any night of the week without a recipe, the top would be basically anything Grant Achatz has ever made and then maybe, just barely a notch below would be a dish that someone you love and respect makes so perfectly that you consider it to be “their” recipe. It feels almost wrong to make someone else’s signature dish, to meddle. It’s their thing, not yours, thus there’s clearly no way you could do it justice. I mean, sure there’s something else you could contribute to the holiday baking curriculum, maybe one of your favorites instead?

one pound of walnuts + very little flour
cutting butter into flour and spices

And this has been my feeling about linzer torte for all of the years since we first met at this url in 2006. I am lucky enough to join a high school friend for Christmas Eve dinner every year, and her mom always includes squares of incredible linzer torte in her array of Holiday Baking Wonders. Her mother is an excellent cook and baker, and the one that introduced me to Maida Heatter, from whom you should buy every book, immediately, without questioning me because her recipes are detailed without being irritatingly so, charmingly written*, and will never lead you astray. Truly. I mean, remember when she showed us how easy Dobos Torte could be to make? Dobos Torte. Imagine what she could do with a black truffle explosion!

knead the dough right in the bowl

one quarter of the dough per crust
phew, help has arrived!
tiny hand print, two bottom crusts
i love this jam and will buy three jars next year

My friend’s mom’s linzer torte is indeed Heatter’s linzer torte, which automatically means two things: It won’t be terribly hard to make because the directions will tell you everything you need to know and it will be the best linzer torte you’ve ever made. And for me, a third thing, which was that I was terrified that whole time I finally baked it at home this week, worried that I would not do a favorite recipe from one of my favorite cooks justice.

strips of semi-frozen dough
semi-woven lid
semi-latticed, almost ready to bake

But what I hadn’t considered is that about halfway through the baking time, my apartment became filled with the aromatic blend of walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest that is distinctly, wonderfully December to me. It was strange and cozy to have it in my own home instead of someone else’s and the resulting tortes were everything I remember about them — delicate and spiced, firm but fragile, not overly sweet and absolutely stunning. Consider this a warning: I don’t think anyone only makes these once.

it makes two tortes
linzer torte, cut into squares
linzer torte square

* This:

“Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you,” — Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.

Cookie Week! This week is all about the cookies. Monday, we talked about Cigarettes Russes (Piroulines), Tuesday, Sugared Pretzel Cookies (made, in part, with rye flour), Wednesday, Eggnog Florentines and then Thursday, I completely abandoned you to go do some holiday-ing with my mom, rather rude, I know, but I think this Linzer is worth the wait and hope it becomes a regular December favorite.

More Cookies: There are over 85 cookie recipes in the archives. My favorite holiday-ish ones, as in, get these away from me or I’ll eat them all, are Austrian Raspberry Shortbread, Crescent Jam and Cheese Cookies, Grasshopper Brownies, Seven-Layer Cookies, Tiny Pecan Sandies, Nutmeg-Maple Butter Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies. For a cookie ideal for gingerbread men, “ninja”-bread men or gingerbread tenements houses, try these Spicy Gingerbread Cookies. [All The Smitten Kitchen Cookies]

Signed Smitten Kitchen Cookbooks: Copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook can be ordered with custom inscriptions — i.e. not just the usual signature but anything you’d like, be it Merry Christmas! or Congratulations on your engagement! (Now bake me some cookies.) or No matter what anyone else tells you, you’re my favorite reader. No seriously. It’s you. all of which have happened because you guys really are that funny and awesome, through McNally-Jackson, an independent bookstore in Soho. This year, we have a hard deadline for Christmas shipping (i.e. you’d pay standard and not rushed shipping and the book will reach you by Christmas) of tomorrow, Saturday, December 14th. Thank you! [Order Custom Inscribed Smitten Kitchen Cookbooks from McNally Jackson]

Linzer Torte
Adapted, with somewhat modified directions, from Maida Heatter’s Book Of Great Desserts

Linzer tortes hail from the city of Linz, Austria. There are many variations, but almost all include a very buttery base mostly comprised of ground nuts — there are versions with almonds and hazelnuts, too. Read more here.

Yield: 2 9-inch round tortes, 2 8-inch square tortes, 1 9×13-inch or 1 11- to 12-inch round torte. The round shape is traditional, and served in wedges. (8 wedges from each 9-inch round). The square shape can be cut into bar cookies (16 from each 8-inch square or 32 from a 9×13 rectangle).

Base and lattice
4 1/2 cups (1 pound or 455 grams) shelled walnuts
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I halved this, using only 1/4 teaspoon)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt (Heatter says 1/4, I really prefer this with 1/2)
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces or 285 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cup (330 grams) granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup (about 20 to 25 grams) fine, dry breadcrumbs
2 cups (about 575 grams) seedless raspberry jam

To finish
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
2/3 to 1 cup (75 to 115 grams) to slivered almonds (julienne-shaped pieces) (optional)

Make base: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round layer cake pans (preferably with removable bottoms if you plan to serve this in wedges, like a cake), two 8-inch square pans (what I used, then cut each into square bars, like cookies), one 9×13-inch rectangular pan (again, for bar cookies) or one 11- to 12-inch round cake pan (again ideally with a removable bottom). Line the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter then paper.

In a food processor, process walnuts and 1/2 cup of the flour (reserve remaining 2 1/2 cups for next step) for 15 seconds, or until the nuts are finely ground but have not formed a paste.

Place remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large, wide-ish mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and walnut-flour mixture. In a small dish, beat the whole egg, yolk, and lemon rind utnil combined, and stir into crumb mixture. Stir the mixture in as best as you can with a spoon, then work the rest in with your hands. Knead the dough a few times inside the bowl until a cohesive mass, one that holds together, forms.

Divide dough into quarters if making two tortes, or halves if making one.

Place one portion into the bottom of each pan, and press evenly and firmly over the bottoms and then about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches up the sides with your fingers. Don’t worry about making it smooth or level on the sides; it gets filled in later.

Bake shell(s) for 15 minutes, or until it barely begins to color at the edges.

While the shell(s) bakes, roll remaining piece(s) of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, until 1/4- to 3/8-inch in thickness one inch bigger than your pan size. [I.e., for each 9-inch round torte, you’ll want a 10-inch diameter circle; for each 8-inch square torte, a 9-inch square, etc.] Transfer to freezer until the dough is well-chilled, about 20 minutes.

Remove shell(s) from oven and let cool slightly; reduce baking temperature to 350 degrees.

Make filling: If you’re using panko or another coarse dry breadcrumb, you can pulse it in a food processor until it is fine powder. I found I needed almost double the volume in panko (7 tablespoons) to yield 1/4 cup of a fine breadcrumb powder.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely ground breadcrumbs over each par-baked shell, or all 1/4 cup over your single large one. If jam is not already soft, stir it until it is, then spread 1 cup over each shell. Cut dough(s) into 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide strips, cutting through the bottom of the waxed paper at the same time. Lift each strip-and-waxed paper over the jam and reverse it onto the jam, then peel off waxed paper. Cut the ends of the dough by pressing them onto the sides of the pan. Arrange strips 1/2- to 3/4-inch apart, crisscrossing them on an angle to make a lattice top with diamond-shaped openings. [Note: I neither “wove” my lattice or ended up making “diamond-shaped” openings. Oops.] Use leftover pieces to fill in any gaps between lattice-strips and tall sides of shells. The two doughs will blend together in the oven.

To finish: Mix egg yolks and water. Brush it all over lattice top and border. Sprinkle with almonds, if using. (I prefer to use 1/3 cup per smaller torte, instead of the 1/2 cup Heatter recommends. I only sprinkled them on one.) Bake torte(s) for 45 to 60 minutes (Heatter recommends 60, I find it perfect, but ovens and baking pans vary, check yours sooner if you’re nervous), until crust and almonds on top are well-browned.

Remove from oven and place on racks. If you’ve baked it in a cake pan and wish to serve it as a “cake,” i.e. in wedges, Heatter recommends that you remove it from the pan while still warm by cutting around the torte carefully (the crust is very fragile) with a small, sharp knife and loosening the torte in the pan, before reversing it onto a cooling rack, and then back again onto another rack to finish cooling. If using a pan with a removable base, you should safely be able to remove it once it has fully cooled. Personally, I had no trouble letting my cool fully in the square pan but the first square did not come out cleanly.

Once fully cool, Heatter recommends you let the tortes stand overnight (covered with foil) before serving for best flavor. You can decorate the tortes with powdered sugar before serving in wedges or squares.

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185 comments on linzer torte

  1. Amy

    I want to make this so badly, but we have walnut/tree nut allergies in our house. Any suggestions for making one without nuts? I feel like a shortbread base and lattice would be too crumbly, and a cream-cheese pastry (like what I’d use for rugelach) would be to flaky.

  2. Margo

    Deb, I have a 10-month old and I’m also a lazy bum. Do you think I could just skip the lattice and either leave the jam naked on top or just put another entire layer of dough on top?

  3. Carrie

    Grrr, I haven’t had these in forever and now I’m allergic to nuts. All nuts. (And peanuts too. And lots of other yummy stuff) so very unfair. I’m going to. Try and silver lining this by thinking of all the calories I’m not eating. It’s not making me any happier though. :(

  4. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! This looks fan-damn-tastick and so creative. I may just have to get out my cookie cutters for the top decorations. And for some reason I bought 2 jars of jelly at the market last week. HAPPY DANCE HAPPY DANCE!

  5. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been looking for an awesome linzer bar — not torte, but bar, denser, fudgier, butterier (yes, it’s a word) — for YEARS. Don’t know why I never thought of the lovely Maida Heatter — who so deserves a renaissance, thanks for that, also. Pretty sure I owe you a big huge thanks. Will confirm after baking up a batch of these, this next week!

    Happy baking,

  6. Tara

    Do you think you could replace walnuts with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds? My daughter is allergic to nuts (and eggs – but I can work around that) and would love to make this!

  7. Sadie

    Oh! Wait until I get some eggs! Plus a friend gave us home made jam! Yum!
    Thanks Deb!
    Question, what are the bread crumbs for and could I used Panko?

  8. Rebecca g

    Once again deb you have given me exactly what I need. I have been livin in Germany since February and so this icky first German Christmas. And of course I have been on the lookout for something traditional but with a twist to make for my mans family this Christmas. Usually everyone makes linzer cookies but I can’t step on my future mother in laws toes with that one and so this recipe is perfect! It’s like a love poem to her famous cookies. Man oh man I thankyou for saving my ass here. You never fail!

  9. Marcia

    Maida Heatter has gone out of fashion…I don’t know why..maybe no photos ? But I have all her cookbooks, ( the original is held together with tape and rubber bands.) they have lovely drawings, and the very wonderful directions.. these recipes always work! I have a zillion baking books, but always go back to Maida as so many others seem to be reinventing her wheel. Good for you , Deb, for introducing her to a new generation of bakers.

  10. Amanda

    I’d love to use almond flour for this…does anyone know how I might convert/substitute that instead of the walnuts and flour? Or should I just sub out almonds for walnuts?

  11. Susan W

    It thrills me no end that you are also a big fan of Maida Heatter and her wonderful books. I have them all, and have been using them for many years. If you would page through them, the splotches and spatters would soon make it clear which recipes are the most loved. Her directions for making a crumb crust that doesn’t stick to the pie pan have changed my culinary life. And some of her recipes, the ones that I have returned to over and over again (Date-Nut Loaf, Royal Pecan Thins, Cold Apricot Soufflé, Key Lime Pie) are reliable favorites that have made me famous among my friends — whether I really deserve to be or not. I can see that now I’m going to have to make Linzer Torte, too. Thanks, Deb!

  12. Liz

    Deb, I said this year that I was not going to go overboard with my holiday cookie baking. I always go nuts and get exhausted. So I was going to really pare it down and only make a sugar cookie star-tree-stack thing. But then, you posted about the Eggnog Florentines. And THEN these Linzer Torte cookies. Both are now added to the list. Thank you!

  13. My mother is from Linz, and from a family with a love for baking, so Linzertorte has been a staple at our family gatherings for a long as I can remember. It’s always a bit of a gamble: it might be heaven – or just plain dry.
    I look forward to giving your take a try!

    1. deb

      Other nuts — I don’t see why an equal volume of pecans, skinned hazelnuts or almonds couldn’t be used. The last two are traditional, too.

      Not egging the top — You can totally skip it.

      Bakes and runs — Good question, and yes. Now edited.

      Weights — Are coming. Totally out of time today, but will fill them in by tomorrow morning at the latest.

      Even in Austrailia — The cutting tool is a pastry wheel. Mine has one fluted side and on straight one; I love it. You can use it for doughs or cookies or pasta. Here’s one like it. That’s just a small offset spatula in the jam jar, great for spreading things and leveling others. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools.

      Tara — I’m not sure. There’s just such a high proportion of nuts in here, it’s not that it couldn’t feasibly work, it’s just hard to guess about replacing that much of an ingredient without trying it first. Do let us all know if you try it, though. (Also, if flour is not an issue, you might increase the proportion of flour a little, to give it more structure if using seeds.)

      Margo — Yes, but I might cut vents in it.

      Amy — I don’t know, those sound like good starts. This IS a crumbly dough. Nuts of course don’t have gluten in them, and this dough is high in butter so it’s fragile in a way. A shortbread, or an egg-enriched shortbread, may not be a bad place to start.

  14. My mother makes a linzertorte with a chocolate-almond crust and a piped chocolate meringue lattice. I’ll have to audition this one for comparison’s sake… ;-)

  15. Jacquelyn J

    @Margo with the 10 month old. I’ve skipped the lattice on this type of cookie before and instead, crumbled the lattice dough over the top of the filling so that the filling is not quite covered; some jammy parts peak through. Bake as per the recipe instructions. You’ll need less dough to crumble over the top than if you were rolling it out and making lattice strips, but otherwise no substitutions necessary.

  16. Marian M

    Ok, I’m going to finally ask: Where, oh where, did you get your big bowl that you mix your pastry dough in? I’ve searched high and low, but can’t find anything even close. Loved it when I saw it your cookbook, and seeing it again in this post – I must have it! okay, not yours, but one like it ;-)

  17. Sera

    It looks lovely! Interesting that the recipe calls for walnuts – as a person who lives in Linz, I’ve only ever encountered Linzer Torte with almonds or maybe hazelnuts.

  18. virginia

    Overnight?! My friend’s mom lets it rest for two weeks in a cool and dark place (–> garage). No mold, nothing that tastes off, just a very intense Linzertorte experience

  19. Leila

    DEB! You need to stop! You’re posting some really good recipes and I really want to bake them all! Along with the recipes I’ve found in the all the cooking magazines! But alas, the 2nd job is in the way! (gotta pay the rent somehow…) I may settle for this recipe instead of the previous one’s this week.

    I <3 Baking!

  20. This looks so professional! I’m so glad you addressed the egg wash question as I’m not a fan even though it adds strength and luster to the top crust. Did you toast the walnuts and cool them before you ground them? I’m sometimes not sure if I should toast them because walnuts are more oily with a strong flavor and can overwhelm a buttery pastry.

  21. dee

    Can you help with suggestions for these and other great cookies for someone lactose intolerant? Sure, I can use Earth Balance instead of butter, which I do, but the cookies are never the same. Are these ways to make it better? More Earth Balance? Adding shortening? Help!

  22. Ilona

    Deb, I’m always looking for great baking cookbooks (I haven’t yet found one that I’ve loved more than Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours). Since you mentioned that Maida Heatter has some really good ones, could you recommend a few that you particularly like? Her list of cookbooks is rather long!

    1. deb

      Maida Heatter — If you’re looking to get started with Heatter, get this book (Book of Great of Desserts), followed by her reissued Book of Great Cookies (honestly, the only cookie recipes most of us will ever need), followed by her Cakes book. Here’s when I turn to her recipes: When I’m looking for a classic baked good — she seems to especially excel at Central European baked goods, but is not limited to them — and I want a recipe I’m confident will work. I feel like this is territory often covered by Martha Stewart, but Heatter’s recipes are overall stronger. Hope that helps.

      susan — No need to toast the nuts as this bakes for a very long time (1 hour 15 minutes total! I did a double-take when I read that. But it works.) You will have plenty of flavor.

      Victoria — No HB egg yolk here — for once!

      Marian — Oh, I do love it so too. However, it may be hard to get. We got married in 2005 and registered for dishes; this was part of the set. The dishes were from Calvin Klein, I think the line was called Khaki Cargo, and I’m pretty sure it’s discontinued. There are some on We have one in Sage (the one you see here), one in Raisin and one in Cream. (I’ve bought them on clearance over the year once I realized they wouldn’t be around forever.) I do NOT recommend that you buy the White or Black, as they are semi-matte and not good glazes. (I don’t think the colors stuck around for long.)

  23. R

    Linzer Torte — my favourite! I make it every year, with almonds; but i let it sit for at least two weeks, wrapped in aluminum foil; sometimes i make it the first week of December to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. and we never have a piece before Christmas Eve (i have to hide the torte until then).

  24. Michelle

    I must tell you…I bought a special jar of jam today and thought to myself “I should use this in something like a linzer torte.” Lo and behold, I come home to the perfect Smitten Kitchen recipe for my purchase :) Thank you!

  25. Lauren

    I will only make it if I can find a tiny hand to leave the cute “prints” on my dough. An extra tiny secret “deliciousness” hidden within. Who would not love these cookies knowing the dough was pressed down by the hand of an actual cherub?

  26. Brenna

    Looks great. Grammar/spelling nut here- you have “one egg pus one yolk” – should be plus. Thanks for yet again another recipe to try!

  27. Lovely ! I tried a linzer too, after my holidays in italian Dolomites. And my feeling before starting preparation was very similar to yours… Anyway, I accomplished this sweet mission.
    Obviously, your squared version is much more fascinating that mine :-)

  28. Lisa

    Wow! Thanks for returning to a family favorite in Maida! Own her books and like several others have pointed out can trace my own baking history to the splotches, stuck pages and my notes in her books. Want to thank you for using raspberries from Briermere Farms as they are a family operation out of the North Fork on LI ~ nice to support the locals! Also wanted to ask what you’d think about using a seedless raspberry, chocolate, almond spread I have on hand from a recipe in the NY Times a couple of years ago. Skip the breadcrumbs? Thanks again! Love Jacob’s helping hand.

  29. Robin

    Sounds great! Just wondering, since I have a brand new bag of almond meal, if I used that in place of the walnuts would I still need the 1/2 cup of flour added to it?

  30. Amanda

    Hi Deb! How do you think this freezes? Freeze fully baked? Fully assembled, but not baked? Better not to freeze? Many thanks for all your inspiration!

  31. Dear Deb, I am Austrian, living in Vienna and my hometown is Linz. Often I find some “Austrian recipes” on Englisch speaking blogs and sometimes I am a little bit surprised about the “original” recipes :-) But I can asure you, there’s nothing wrong with your Linzer Torte. It is like we practice here, too, simple and perfect. The only thing you could do better, is to keep the cake wrapped in clingfilm for at least one week on a dry and cool place. It needs very much time. Hope to find some more original Austrian recipes on your blog soon ;-)… Greetings from Vienna from Mrs Ziii.

  32. Sonja

    My Oma’s linserschnitten have always been my favourite Christmas cookie: bars made similarly with red currant jelly and hazelnuts in the dough. The tops are glazed with a lemon juice & icing sugar glaze. Thanks for this. It will be an easier way to make something similar. I TOTALLY agree with the reluctance to mess with anything that has been tradition though!

  33. Joanne

    I waste no time! Just made it with hazelnuts – really good. Avoided any problems with getting it out of the pan by criss-crossing parchment paper. Came out in a snap!

  34. Michaela

    Ohh yay you mentioned my hometown, Linz :-) Gonna have to try that recipe soon! Thanks for posting it! (… contrary to popular belief not everyone here knows how to make it, and I for one have never even given it a try)

  35. Dieselle

    Looks beautiful, especially the chubby lil hand!…
    I am wondering how much Almond Flour I need to substitute for the 1 lb Walnuts + 1/2 C flour mixture … any suggestions? Presuming I follow the recipe as written after that?

    1. deb

      To use almond meal — Use 1 pound of almond flour for the 1 pound of walnuts. If you’d like to substitute the all-purpose flour with additional almond meal (I have not tested this — do not know for sure that it would work), I’m not positive whether you should go with volume (3 cups) or weight (3 cups flour = 375 grams).

      Betsy — Yes, but a 9-inch would be better. 10-inch would work but it would yield a thinner torte.

      Amanda — I froze my second torte fully baked. It defrosted wonderfully.

      Amber — The cake pans are Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch and they’re pretty great. These are over 6 years old and look like the day I bought them.

  36. Yvette

    Maida Heater’s Book of Great American Desserts never fails me…before Dorie,Martha,Bouchon- whatever! All of the guru’s are great but Maida is like your Grandma- not so intimidating and right on the mark for any cook!! Love that your food processor has the pause button worn off, just like mine:)

  37. Chom

    “Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you,” — Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.

    LOVE this quote. And I love cookie season. Made your gingerbread with the lemon icing – wowza, thanks!

  38. I have always wanted a good recipe for Linzer Torte and finally, I have found it here. Thanks for sharing the step by step photos — these will help me a lot. Happiness is indeed in these photos of cookies. Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays, Deb !

  39. Katie H

    I wonder, to make this even easier, do you think you could crumble up the top dough and have it as a crumb topping? Not a huge fan of rolling things out. I also wonder if you could use a different flavor jam?

  40. Kathryn Hazen

    Hi Deb: can this be made in a 9×13 Pyrex? I also have a response for Dee who is lactose intolerant and asked about substitutes….Dee: I am severely lactose intolerant and spent years coming up with substitutes for baking….three years ago someone told me about Digestive Advantage….it is a probiotic ….I take 2 every morning and they have changed my life….none of the other lactose pills worked for me but these are truly a miracle….I can eat anything now and have turned several other sufferers onto them and everyone swears by them…baking and cooking is a joy again and so is eating in restaurants….you can order them online..and Deb, thank you for always inspiring me and making me laugh…you are terrific…

  41. Martina

    Great recipe, very close to the original! One if my favourite cakes! We always use redcurrant jam for it. The tartness of the jam complements the sweet nuttiness of the dough. Greetings from an Austrian.:)

  42. Abby

    Hi Deb–can you explain the function of the dried breadcrumb layer underneath the filling? I’m wondering if it’s essential. Thanks so much for the wonderfully deatiled photos!

  43. Maider Heatter gave me the confidence to bake; her cookbooks should be in every home library, along with yours. And as for that cute chubby little helping hand…nothing could be sweeter.

  44. Paula

    I had already planned to make the Austrian Raspberry Shortbread cookies (which you note as a favorite),now I’m conflicted! Linzer bars are similar, w/ short crust & raspberry jam filling, so don’t want to make both. If you were only going to make one, which would it be?
    Now I’m thinking of a recipe mash-up, since you note that the shortbread for Austrian Shortbread recipe is a little too plain. Since you’ve handled dough for both, do you think that the grating technique you use with Austrian Shortbread would work with Linzer dough? Would certainly be easier than the lattice top.

    I love, love, love Maida Heater. Her recipes are so complete and detailed; ideal for any baker, but especially someone without a lot of experience. I think she fell out of fashion because she never had a TV show. For anyone who looked at the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Pecan Squares on this website, but passed it by because of the intimidating amount of butter and sheer expense of the ingredients; Maida has a recipe for Pecan Squares Americana that is very similar, but a little more restrained. (if you google you will find it). Makes a slightly smaller pan (15×10 vs 18×13) and would guess that the shortbread and topping are both a little thinner; still rich as sin!

    1. deb

      Grace — No, not if the seeds won’t bother you in the cookie/torte.

      Abby — Yes, it protects the bottom layer from getting soggy and cooks with the jam so that the jam becomes thicker — it’s not runny at all.

  45. Kim Stebbins

    Oh thank you for this– brings back wonderful memories as an Austrian exchange student, many years ago. I loved to cook even then and learned to make this (though we picked fresh red currents from the garden and made current jam that day to make the tort), along with strudel ( the real deal, with hand stretched dough, NOT FILO sheets) and Wiener schnitzel. I gained 30 pounds that year and when I came home, my mother promptly put me on a diet! I hadn’t thought about Linzer torte in years and I am so ready to try your delicious sounding recipe. Thank you!

  46. Sue

    Maida Heatter has been my teacher and inspiration for baking for years, and I agree she should have a renaissance. Ifbtherevis a higher title than Queen of Baking, she would deserve it. Just made the French Chocolate Loaf Cake in her New Book of Great Desserts. This Linzer Torte looks fabulous, and even though I always say I’ve completed my holiday baking, there is always room, and I somehow find the time, for more.

  47. Sarah

    I made half the recipe but still needed two (whole) eggs to bind. Not sure what happened but it turned out fine. I also subbed almonds and apricot jam as it was all I had to hand and left out the sugar in the pastry. I found the jam was sweet enough for my tastes as am trying to cut down on sugar. Despite having lived in Austria I’ve never had a linzer torte so no idea if it was authentic tasting! It was good though like a Christmassy Bakewell tart (an English regional dish). It also looked very pretty, thanks for the recipe!

  48. Eileen

    I made this yesterday, and it is delicious, but my dough was a darker color than yours, even raw. Did you peel the walnuts or something? I did end up using about a cup of pecans because I didn’t have enough walnuts. Thanks for the great recipes! I want to make almost every one you post, and they all turn out as good as they look!

  49. bambi

    Deb – please validate… for those with nut allergies : I make a Passover version of lizner tart cookies with crushed potato chips (!) to bulk up the “it’s not flour” ingredients necessary for Passover cooking. I am assuming that similarly, potato chips or potato sticks could be subbed for nuts here. Reduce or eliminate extra salt in recipe. Not for purists, perhaps – but this makes a darned good linzer cookie !

  50. Helen in CA

    Imagining doing this w/ a cranberry/raspberry jam. YUM. Adapting the cranberry crumb bar recipe in the cookbook. Going there soon….got a Winter Solstice potluck this Friday night!

  51. Hiddy

    “Line the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter then paper.”
    Hi Deb! I’m new to baking so I would like to clarify this part as it seems a little confusing to me. Does it mean you have to line the baking tin twice with paper? Thanks!

  52. Made these yesterday but unfortunately wasn’t thinking critically – the recipe said to bake them for an hour, but presumably this is not the case if you’re making them in an 8″ square pan, because I got mine out at 45 minutes and they came out super dry and brown. Suuuuper dry and brown. I’m sad. Maybe amend the baking time?

    1. deb

      Hi Anna — I did bake mine in 8-inch square pans and while I kept an eye on it during the baking time, it indeed baked for an hour without getting overly brown. You do want it to have a nice toasty color and the torte is indeed a firm one (many recommend letting it rest for a day or two at room temperature, or even longer, for better flavor). Is it at all possible that your oven runs hot?

      Hiddy — No. You line the bottom with a piece of parchment that’s been cut to fit, and butter the paper.

      Bambi — Sorry, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Potatoes bake up very differently than nuts, and they’d be saturated with grease, throwing off the consistency of the cookie.

      Eileen — No. I don’t even know how to peel walnuts. ;)

  53. Erin

    Turned out great, but I either skimped on buttering the pan or this needs a parchment liner. If I didn’t have a chisel-like spatula, the pieces would not have come out.

  54. Years ago I managed a coffee/ice cream shop. We had an amazing German woman who made German pastries and this was one of them. Yummy. Brings back so many memories.

  55. These are so beautiful. I just had something like this last week at a party and asked for the recipe which I haven’t received yet. I’m happy I found yours so now I can make them. Thanks for sharing and I love your lattice technique.

  56. …. and…. the verdict is: YES!!!!!!!!

    These really ARE as good as they sounded, and looked (and smelled, and tasted). Thank you, thank you Deb, for sharing this lovely. I’ve two tins full, aging away in the garage, waiting to share with friends and family, tomorrow. What a gem.


    1. deb

      Melissa — I think it could be, but I don’t know a baking time offhand. Use the same temperature; the baking time is probably about the same as most roll-out cookies.

  57. Your first paragraph speaks volumes!! While I am (sadly) unfamiliar with Grant Achatz (but not for long) I can’t agree more with your general sentiment. Looking forward to trying the recipe and stepping out of the box! :)

  58. Charlotte

    Thank you! This recipe looks amazing :) When I first came to the page and saw the photo, I thought it was a crostata. Being Italian, my cousins and I always argue over who makes the best and most authentic tasting crostata.I’m not always one for authentic, rather homemade & easy is more my style. The next time we’re together, I’m going to try to pawn this one off as a crostata with all the nuts in it, and see if anyone notices :)

  59. Hi Deb – this looks so lovely! I might have to try it though I have no tradition of linzer torte in my life. I’m just about to make shortbread from your twice-baked recipe.Shortbread is part of my Scottish heritage! I’ve used it the last couple of years and adore it. I live in North West River, Labrador – it is kinda near Santa Claus for you geography impaired types. I go shopping maybe once every two weeks to an extremely over-priced and uncool grocery store. I guess I’m in as different a location as one can be from NYC. So, I compromise on stuff – never use unsalted butter (why they charge more for less ingredients I don’t know) and have to just make do. I just wanted you to know that it all works with some diligence and love. Yes, it does. It is minus 30 today (that’s Celsius but at that temp it is about the same) and baking inside is just the thing to do! Later…

  60. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    I was thisclose to an epic dessert, but took my eyes off the prize in the last few minutes of baking and…. ugh… two very over cooked tortes. Boo! This is definitely not a reflection on the recipe – to the contrary, the recipe was flawless and I was on my way to stardom (at least in my family’s eyes – linzer torte is a favorite here), but got distracted by the little people and went from toasted brown linzer tortes to over done. Not to worry, though, my husband has declared them delicious regardless of the slightly blackened crust and is happily eating his way through them without complaint. Plus he knows I’ll try again soon b/c I can’t let this be the end of the linzer torte journey!

  61. I…. I don’t think I’ve ever had linzer torte?!

    But I totally understand the whole not-wanting-to-screw-up-something feeling. My boyfriend’s grandma gave us the recipe for his favorite holiday cookies from when he was a kid, and they are not the easiest thing to make! Talk about pressure to get it right when you try it out!

  62. Reneé

    Almost so perfect (and very cute, as I quartered the recipe and made it in a 6-in round cake pan), but operator error got me in the end! A note for those trying the double-flip from a round pan technique: take care not to squish! My beautifully bronzed, woven crust got smashed as I wasn’t gentle enough while flipping. Otherwise, perfect.

  63. Tucker

    In made this tonight. All the steps worked out. It is cooling in the pan as we speak, so I have not had a taste yet. I was expecting it to be hard, but was border line simple. I cooked my in one 9X13 pan.

  64. Deborah

    Hi Deb!

    Do you think it would be possible to cut the butter into the flour using the food processor? Like maybe you could wipe it out after processing the walnuts and then cut the butter in? For some reason I have always hated using a pastry cutter and avoid it whenever possible. THANKS!

    1. deb

      Deborah — I think so. No need to wipe it out, I’d think, but only pulse it until combine. You don’t want to over-blend it. (I don’t think this crust is all about flakiness, so to me, using a handheld pastry blender is less essential here than with pie doughs, where I always use it.)

  65. Susan

    Uh, yummmm. Made this the other day and it was a huge hit. I followed the recipe, as written. I added almonds and loved that touch. Everyone who had one loved it. Thanks for this recipe!!

  66. Heidi

    @Deborah the commenter above — I don’t have a pastry blender (I KNOW I’M TERRIBLE) so I used my food processor. Just pulsed and was super careful not to go too far. Seemed to work just fine.
    …except…they’re cooking right now and everything looks and smells awesome, but I have a LOT of dough left over. I used two 9×9 pans and I don’t think I skimped on dough. Certainly not on the bottom, each pan got at least 1/4 of the total dough, and then I rolled out as instructed, and faux-latticed (I’m 39 weeks pregnant, no patience) the top…and was left with over a cup of dough.
    Because I’m ridiculous, I saved the leftover dough in the freezer in case I feel like making a couple linzer cookies the next time I have jam.
    I’m going to assume the issue is that I should have just trusted the bag of walnuts to be the right weight. It said 1lb but was under 4 cups, so I added some hazelnuts. Probably didn’t them? Oh well, it’s going to be delicious.

  67. greg munger

    This worked out really well. I used a non-gluten flour mix which I think came out fine, it is really just the nuts, sugar, and butter that matter. i was also too lazy to do the rolled out lattice so just made ropes of dough and laid them out. Thanks so much- I love Maida’s books too.

  68. I made these for Christmas give-away. Managed to put together 1 apricot and 1 raspberry (both with pretty lattice), and there was still enough dough left for a bottom of an apple tart. All three were 8-1/2″ foil shells. They turned out both beautiful and fragrant, but I find them to be excessively sweet. I mean, they are already rich with butter and nuts and jam, there is just no need for 1-2/3 cups of sugar, it’s just too much. Other than that, great recipe.

    1. deb

      Eat Already — Do you think it might be the jam you used? Most commercial jams (and I should have warned) are so very sweet, as are many homemade. I should have noted that I chose the brand I did (from a stand we love on the North Fork of Long Island) because their raspberry jam is strongly flavored with raspberries but not achingly sweet. I mention this because I, too, have made jam-filled stuff before (the jam tart on this site, as well as the Neapolitan Cake!) and found it unbearably sweet until I started being very careful with the jams I choose for baking.

  69. I just took out my linzer torte which was in the oven 45minutes. It came out beautifully brown (dark side). I noticed some people were talking about the oven temp and time. The next time, I will divide the dough in trisect, one part should be enough for two lattice tops. Also cut sugar to 1 1/2 cup (even the jam I used was not so sweet). I love this torte and make it again for New Year Eve party.Thank you, Deb

    1. deb

      Hiddy — I just put them in the freezer in their pans (if just for a day or three), covered tightly with foil. For longer, I would do my best to unmold them (baking them with parchment paper up two sides will make it easier if using a cake pan without a removable bottom), then wrap it in foil tightly, maybe twice, and slide it in a freezer bag.

  70. Jackie

    Hi Deb, I made this today and everything was beautiful… Until I took it out of the springform pan. The bottom was completely black! I’m guessing my oven was too hot and I baked it for too long, but am not sure. Next time, should I just cut down on the times? Is it possible to make this without baking the bottom layer first?

    1. deb

      Jackie — Baking the bottom layer first keeps it crisp under all that jam. However, you might just need less baking time in total. I felt that the baking time was really long and was all sorts of suspicious, but it worked perfectly for me (and perfectly for my friend’s mom all these years) so I didn’t worry. But, it clearly will be an issue in some ovens or perhaps if people are using thinner baking pans. I’ll add a note (sorry, I know, little consolation to you now).

  71. auryane

    I’ve made this several times now, and it has always worked out well even with substantial tweaking. My favorite version uses poached quince. I omitted the breadcrumbs (the quince is already quite dry, and tends to dry out–rather than leak liquid–when baked), and used a much thicker layer of fruit than the typical linzer torte (2.5 C of quince for half a recipe). I dialed back on the sugar (1/2 C, or 1 C for the full recipe) to compensate, and it seems to work. I also played with the spices: cardamon and vanilla bean (to complement the quince), with only a touch of cinnamon and all-spice.

  72. Tucker

    Deb, I just bought Fig Butter from Trader Joe’s I think it would be great in this recipe. No segue, I have bought several baking pans from Sur la Table. The Sur la Table brand and love them. I am going to try your William-and Sonoma Gold-Touch Pans next.

  73. Heather

    Dear Deb,
    Many thanks for all the joy, good reading, and fine cooking through these years! You have such a talent for making me feel like you are speaking directly to me–there’s a reason you are beloved by readers, just like Maida is. You really are just the best.

    My question is about cutting the strips. The instructions say to cut right through the wax paper underneath the dough, which I’m sure is helpful in lifting crumbly dough. I have a fluted pastry cutter–ok, I have three–and I’m pretty sure that none of them is sharp enough to do this. It looks, from the pictures, like you may have skipped this step without a problem. Is the dough pretty cohesive?

    1. deb

      Heather — You are correct, I totally skipped this step and you’ll be fine without it. However, for someone more nervous with doughs or lattice, I think it could be a very helpful way to approach it.

  74. Deb; made the linzer torte today and had a few challenges. 1st of all, my dough is much darker than yours. It may be that I added 1/2tsp of ground cloves (I like the stronger taste). The dough did not come together; I made some ice water, added 2 tsp, 1 at a time, but wish I had added a 3rd tsp. I was not able to roll the dough so I improvised with discs that I hand formed. And I am afraid they will not come out of their pans tomorrow because of the jam on the sides. The springform will be easier to fiddle with but the tart pan will not. Next time I will use a non-stick spray on the sides.
    I made a seedless raspberry torte and an apricot with sprinkled almonds. They look wonderful; look forward to the tasting tomorrow. Wish I could send you a picture.
    Happy New Year and thank you for taking the time to keep this very useful & delicious blog going.

  75. ps….I put the torte that was in the fluted tart pan in the oven for a few minutes and it popped right out. The one in the springform pan was no problem.
    My friend who grew up with Austrian parents declared it great!

  76. Deborah

    Made this today and it is lovely but I found it cooked in about 35 mins. I also made the pastry entirely in the processor and it was fine although I don’t have a freezer large enough or empty enough to take a large sheet of delicate pastry and used the fridge instead.

  77. Laura Hinz

    I wish the house could smell like baking linzer torte everyday! My (german) husband was pleased when he heard I was baking it and can’t wait dig into it tomorrow. Thanks very much for the recipe :)

  78. dylan

    Delicious! I have one question. When I made it, the bottom layer of dough was as hard as a brick, I couldn’t cut into it (I chilled it before cutting it up). Would you recommend cutting it up before chilling the torte? Thanks

    1. deb

      dylan — It should be firm and cookie-like but I’ve never heard of it being so hard that it couldn’t be cut with any knife. Did anything seem off to you in the taste or baking process?

  79. Cheryl

    Hi Deb

    I’ve just discovered your wonderful website while I was looking for a recipe for Linzer Torte. Of course, I found this one and it looks delicious. (Don’t know how I’ve missed Maida Heatter all these years!) I would like to make it but there’s only the 2 of us and do not want to make 2 at the same time. I have a bottom-freezer fridge and no room to freeze a torte in the pan. Can you tell me if you’ve ever frozen just the dough, uncooked? I know I do this with other pastry doughs I make but not sure about this one.
    Also, have you ever made and served it the same day?
    Thanks for all the help.

  80. Cheryl

    Deb –

    That was my thought too but didn’t know if you’ve had the experience.

    Have you made and served the same day? Would love to serve it tomorrow night but can’t make it today.

    Thanks again,

    1. deb

      Cheryl — I actually like this better on the second, third or fourth day. Buttery/nutty things like this taste fine from the oven, but even better once the flavors settles a little and mature.

  81. I’m planning on making this for this weekend but I notice that your recipe is different in that you added breadcrumbs into the filling. Most recipes just call for only jam from the jar whereas yours adds that extra ingredient. Is it because your jam is more liquid and need the extra thickening?

  82. Eileen W

    Baked a halved version of this last Christmas and somehow still had enough to make a miniscule 4.5 inch round tort-ette which resided in my -0 degree freezer til last week when it was tucked into the luggage in lieu of the banana bread I couldn’t find. Results: Even better than the aged Christmas version! How can that be? Served as delectable breakfast for 4 days: Tiny wedge, crisp apple, hot coffee = One smug woman. Looking forward to making/aging the next one(s) for the holidays. Gift idea?

  83. My family’s version of this omits the cloves and uses cocoa rather than lemon – bit of a different critter. (Plus almonds, not walnuts.) I’ll admit to being curious about this probably lighter-tasting version but don’t know if I could bring myself to futz with mine.

    I’ll have to remember the breadcrumb trick – Target’s house-brand jam has a lower moisture content than other raspberry jams I’ve found, and others have a tendency to, for lack of a better term, “blerp”.

    For my money, the best use of leftovers: take a 3″ round cutter, cut two rounds, place a spoonful of jam in the center of one, use a small cookie cutter (I go with stars) to cut a hole out of the other and place it over top. Seal the edges all the way. I like putting a little ball of dough in the jam opening, but I don’t do slivered almonds. I do these en masse like cookies and they’re a hit.

  84. (Just read the product plug bit of the guidelines, and didn’t mean to be obnoxious about the jam thing – I just had a really frustrating experience with a wetter jam exploding my cookies last week, and have been trying to figure out what jam traits make the difference! The breadcrumb thing will be good to note if the one I like ever changes formulation, which I’ve fretted about before, as it’s seeming like more and more brands have been misbehaving for me lately.)

  85. marina

    unfortunately i’ve managed to completely mess up the recipe. i over-baked the bottom and the top layer so the torte came out too hard and dense, and also overly sweet (probs because of the sweet jam i used + the too small baking dish). gaaah. your’s looks marvelous!

  86. Rupi D

    Dear Deb- these were perfect. Totally perfect. I waited a year to make these and finally did for Xmas these year, they were a complete hit and every last piece was enjoyed from both tortes. I followed your instructions exactly and wouldn’t change anything next time either. Better than my favorite bakery linzers. Thank you!

  87. Chelsea

    I made these last night for my osacrs party, and they were a huge hit. Instead of making the lattice top, I also just made a press-down crust for the top. It worked great, and I’m very happy with the outcome. The walnuts really give the crust a unique flavor.

  88. I’ve seen a few people mentioning a rest time of one day to two weeks in a cool, dry place. Nearly June in Massachusetts here–any suggestions where I could stash this for a while safe from humidity? (And I see this is usually a Christmas-y affair. Doing it anyway!)

  89. Jean

    Hi Deb
    I have successfully made this delicious recipe a few times. We’re having a big reception for our newly wed and Austrian based daughter and son in law this summer and I would love to make a bunch of these for the reception. I just don’t want to do it all last minute and when it’s 100 degrees outside. How well would these freeze? Would you make and bake and freeze them whole? Or might there be a way to partially make, then freeze, then bake? Or what suggestions if any do you have? Thanks!

  90. Jay

    Since I’m in the south and have an abundance of pecans thanks to my parents’ trees, I’m thinking of making a pecan version this week to take home to the family for Christmas. Since I’ll already be non-traditional with the pecans, I wonder if adding chocolate or white chocolate chips to the raspberry filling might be going too far?

  91. Simone

    I made this last night and totally over baked it :-( I was suprised since my oven ususally runs cool. I let it sit over night and just cut a piece for breakfast, it is still delicious albeit a little dry and with a blackendish top! I was relieved to read others had a darker and drier dough as I did as well, so am wondering if the age/moisture level of the walnuts impacts the recipe. As I said, still delicious and will try it again for sure. For those wanting to avoid the flour could rice flour be used instead, I’m afraid I don’t know enough about gluten to know if this is a good substitute? My sister makes the most wonderful shortbread and uses a mixture of flour and rice flour and the texture is still tender yet firm, which she attributes to the rice flour.

  92. Julia

    I made this with my 14 year old stepson last night. The edges got a bit too dark, but the center is divine. And he had a ton of fun making a modified (piecemeal) lattice for the top. His dad, who doesn’t like cookies with jam in them, thinks the torte is superb. Thumbs up from another RPS alumn.

  93. katie

    i made this in a 13 by 9 glass pan and it came out really lovely. except, the jam baked to the sides all around. i didn’t understand that you need to put the bottom layer of dough far enough up the sides of the pan that the jam doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. i lost 1/2 inch from each side but the rest of it was super tasty. i might do even more lemon zest next time. i had a lot of dough left over and i just rolled it out and cut into squares with a dollop of jam in the middle of each. i almost liked these better, they were crispier, not as crumbly.

  94. Melissa

    I made these last night, and despite a few set backs (I mixed the butter with the nut meal and flour – my dough never really came together) it was great. The crust is delicious. I’ll have to look up Maida Heatter. I have a bit of dough to use up. Any idea how to use it as a Linzer cookie? Time & temp?
    Btw, a Texas chain – central market had all sorts of ground nuts, so I just bought a pound of hazelnut meal. Also, I use the Eco parchment paper and don’t have any issues. Food does not stick to it.

    1. deb

      Melissa — Glad this was a hit. I love it so much and just don’t think it gets the kind of attention that, you know, brownies and cupcakes do. This dough is not at all dissimilar from a standard linzer dough, but I haven’t tested it as a cookie. Might be easier to start with these hazelnut lizners, using walnuts and the other additions here. Oh and please send me some, like, now.

  95. Minik

    So, I finally made this after eyeing it for almost a year and I have to say it really came together easier than I expected (for such a fancy name!). The hardest part was halving the recipe on the go! I love that you give your readers permission/instructions on how to wing the lattice top! You’re my favorite Deb!
    I didn’t have walnuts so I used almonds instead and homemade cranberry jam (I know, right?). Alas, my jam was too sweet (probably?) and now I have a stunner of a torte sitting on my counter but it’s just so sweet I don’t dare to eat it. I should’ve read the comments BEFORE doing the work, sigh…
    But those tiny hands though!

  96. C

    This may not be the most helpful comment, but I think an acquaintance just made these (she said it was SK). She’s a good baker, and they were delicious.