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Linzer Square    printer friendly
By Charlie Burke

During the holidays, most families have
favorite special deserts. When Marcia and
I decided to put together
list of holiday recipes from
The Heart of New England, I included two of my wife Joanne’s favorites, a
buttermilk lemon pudding cake and a chocolate apricot soufflé cake.

In discussing this week’s recipe, Marcia suggested “Figgy Pudding, of
Christmas carol fame.” When I researched it, I found many versions, all too time
consuming for busy holiday cooks.*

My wife, Joanne, suggested this Linzer Square, which she makes far more often
than either of the cakes I listed, and she reminded me that it is frequently
requested when she asks what she can bring to a party.  Festive, colorful and
easy to make, this riff on the famous Linzer Torte from Austria stores well for
several days and can be frozen, so it is perfect both for holiday entertaining and
for gifts.

The sweet dough, made from almond paste, is as important as the raspberry
filling. It is very easy to make and work with, so Jo often makes several squares
for storing or giving. To keep it simple, she forms the lattice top by simply
placing the strips of dough in two layers at ninety degrees, rather than weaving
them. She makes at least two eight by eight inch squares, the yield of one
package of almond paste, and either freezes one or gives it as a gift.

Two eight by eight inch squares or 1 eight by sixteen inch square:

Almond dough:
One 7 oz package almond paste
1 cup butter
2 small or medium eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling for two squares:
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup chopped pecans

1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons water

Break up the almond paste into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter
and beat until the mixture is smooth. While the mixer is running, add the sugar,
eggs and vanilla and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add
the flour slowly while the mixer is running and beat until completely

Divide the dough in half, flatten each half and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes.

Divide the dough again into equal halves. Roll each half between plastic wrap
into 8 inch squares. Grease an 8 X 8 inch baking pan, remove the top layer of
wrap from one sheet of dough and invert it into the baking pan, pushing it into
the corners. Place the pan into the freezer for 10 minutes. Cut a second sheet of
dough into 16 half inch strips, leaving them on the bottom sheet of plastic wrap,
and place it in freezer for ten minutes. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of

Mix the pecans and raspberry preserves. Use 1 cup of filling for each pan,
spreading it evenly to within a half inch of the edges. Place 8 strips of dough
across the filling of each square and then place the remaining strips at 90
degrees to the strips in each pan.

Mix the egg yolk and water and brush the lattices in each pan with the egg wash.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown, approximately 30
minutes. Cool the pans on a rack and cut into 2 inch squares to serve. To store,
do not cut the square. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to
a week or freeze for up to a month.

This recipe is easy because the almond dough is pliant and forgiving, so it
would be fun to make with the kids and perhaps start a holiday tradition.

* Here is a link to a fun site which will tell you more than you want to know
about: “
Figgy Pudding”!

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
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