The ingredients for linzertorte are easy to prepare--a food processor produces the buttery nut crust, and you buy a jar of raspberry jam for the filling--but the result is a homely dessert, not really glamorous enough for the finale to a holiday meal.
We wanted our linzertorte to have both the taste and the appearance worthy of a dessert with star billing.
We made an uncomplicated dough using a base of 2 parts hazelnuts and 1 part almonds. A single raw egg moistened and bound the dough nicely, and cinnamon and allspice added traditional spice flavors. Our real challenge was figuring out how to keep the fragile dough from cracking and splitting while lining the tart pan, and we developed an unorthodox method to deal with it. First, we prebaked only the bottom crust, not the sides. Once the bottom crust was cooked through, we found it easy enough to use the remaining dough to line the sides of the tart pan. We wanted a decorative basket-weave design on top, but the dough was too tender to weave lattice strips. We achieved the same effect by placing the strips one by one in a precise order over the tart.