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Sour Cherry Linzer Tart

Serves: Makes one 9-inch tart

Ingredients:

Tart Crust
  • 1½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 68°F)
  • ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1¹⁄³ cups (6½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¹⁄³ cup (1½ ounces) whole natural almonds
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) whole hazelnuts
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt




Filling
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cherry or berry juice
  • ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) firmly packed dried sour cherries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving


Procedures:

A linzer tart is a lattice-topped Austrian specialty featuring a crust rich with butter, spices, and ground nuts enveloping a filling of raspberry jam. While a good-quality seedless raspberry jam would be delicious as the filling, you’ll love the way dried sour cherries add their bright, tart flavor to this modern take on the classic favorite. Feel free to substitute 1¼ cups raspberry jam for the filling if you’d like to make the traditional tart. Good any time of year, this dessert is especially welcome during the holidays, when the fragrance of cinnamon and cloves fills the house with the irresistible scent of winter baking.

Tart Crust:

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy looking, 2 to 3 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, though you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg and egg yolk and blend well. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the vanilla, orange zest, and lemon zest and blend well; scrape down the bowl once more.

Place the flour, almonds, hazelnuts, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add to the butter mixture and blend on low just until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Divide the dough: Split the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. (The larger piece will line the tart pan, while the smaller portion will be piped in a lattice pattern over the top of the tart.) Wrap the larger portion in plastic and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes, until firm enough to press into the tart pan without it sticking to your hands. Spoon the smaller portion of dough into the pastry bag fitted with the ³⁄8-inch plain round tip and set aside at room temperature.

Filling:

Combine the juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in the small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pan, adding the pod as well. Add the dried cherries. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cherries are plump and soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through the fine-mesh strainer into the medium bowl. Return the juices to the saucepan and place the cherries in the medium bowl. Discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod. Bring the juices to a simmer. In the small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the simmering juice, whisking constantly. Cook until the liquid thickens, 30 to 60 seconds, then immediately pour over the cherries and stir to blend. Cool completely (to speed cooling, place the bowl of cherries in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir occasionally).

Press the larger portion of chilled dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the lower third.

Spread the cherry filling evenly in the chilled shell. Using the dough in the pastry bag, create an angled lattice: Pipe straight lines of dough about 1 inch apart across the surface of the filling. Then, pipe slanted lines of dough over the straight lines, crossing them at an angle to create a diamond pattern. (Note: You won’t need all the dough in the bag—you can roll and cut the leftover dough into shapes with a cookie cutter and make linzer cookies.).

Bake the tart for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the dough is nicely browned. Transfer to a cooling rack, making sure you hold the pan by the sides and not the bottom (remember, it’s a two-piece pan and can come apart!).

Place the tart pan on top of a large can from your pantry (the 28-ounce tomato cans are good) so that the bottom balances midair as the rim falls to the counter. Use the metal spatula to transfer the tart to a serving plate or simply leave the bottom of the tart pan under the tart for support. Serve warm or at room temperature with a spoonful of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cindy Mushet and Sur La Table, The Art & Soul of Baking (Andrews McMeel)

 
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