Walnut Linzer Cookies

walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co

Linzer cookies are a holiday classic - usually made with almonds and raspberry jam as a nod to the Austrian Torte which they are named after. I took a few liberties here - swapping deeply toasted walnuts for the almonds and fig and currant jams for the raspberry so this is definitely a cookie where you can have some fun. Don’t have walnuts and fig jam? Try pecans or pistachios with strawberry or cranberry jam. If you are a home canner, I bet you have a few jars open in your fridge already. Feel free to use what you have. I used a round cookie cutter, and a couple of different sized round cutters for the centers of my cookies, but you could certainly use something a little more decorative. I also liked the look of cutting the centers purposely off-center, but it made the cookies tricky to move and they shifted in the oven a bit so I can’t say that I’d recommend it.

Walnut Linzer Cookies

Makes about 30 sandwich cookies

Slightly adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

This nut-filled dough is delicious and delicate. Make sure to use enough bench flour that it doesn’t stick to your surface and handle it carefully when you are transfering the cookies to the baking sheets. I found a small offset spatula to be helpful with this task. These will loose their crispness after the first day, but are still delicious after a few days on the counter. Store them in an airtight container and redust with confectioner’s sugar if necessary.

1 1/4 cups (105g) chopped, deeply toasted walnuts

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup (225g) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup jam

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and pulse until well combined. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until a few small pieces of butter remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a square about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake position 2 racks, evenly spaced, as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the dough in half and keep half of the dough in the refrigerator while you work. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2- inch round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as possible. Carefully transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets. Use a small circle or decorative cutter to cut the centers out of half of the cookies on the sheets. Gather up the scraps and repeat. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake the cookies 17-19 minutes or until barely golden. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the cooled cookies with a cutout with confectioner’s sugar. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on each of the other cookies. Top the jammed cookie with the sugared cookie and serve.

Snuk Foods sent me the incredible fig jam I used in these cookies - you can find it on their site (alongside tons of amazing International pantry items!) HERE.

walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co
walnut linzer cookies | apt 2b baking co

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit
Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit
Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

For all of its shortcomings (unbearable heat and humidity), summer is my very favorite time to be a baker. I am so inspired by the amazing variety of fruit available during the summer months, so when I was tasked with making some desserts for a photo shoot a few weeks ago, I knew that fresh fruit tarts would be just the thing. I used my favorite sweet tart shell from Dorie Greenspan filled with a luxurious mascarpone cream that I developed a few months ago when a friend tasked me to make her wedding desserts, then I topped it with heaps of the most beautiful berries I could find. I love recipes like this cream because they are a great, neutral base to showcase whatever fruit is in season. Now that we are later into the summer, I think some sliced stone fruit tossed in lemon juice or assorted cherries would be lovely. As always, use whatever is in season and beautiful at your local market.

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit

Sweet Tart Dough

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

for 1, 9'' or 10'' tart

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons cold, cubed butter

1 egg yolk

2 Tablespoons water

1. In the bowl of a food processor or with a pastry blender, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the yolk and pulse then stream in the water and mix until the dough starts clump together.

2. Lightly butter your tart pan or pans and gently press the crumbly dough into the pan. Make sure to evenly coat the bottom and the sides while being careful to not compact the dough too much. Alternately, you can pat the dough into a circle, wrap it in plastic, and chill it for 2 hours. After 2 hours, roll the dough in between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper into a 12'' circle and gently lay it into the pan, making sure to press the dough gently into the sides and bottom of the pan.  You may have a bit of extra dough, save it just in case you have to repair any cracks later on. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom and sides of the dough. Freeze the tart shell(s) for 30min.

3. Preheat your oven to 375º and bake the tart shell(s) on a baking sheet (no need for pie weights) until it is lightly golden 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil repair any cracks that may have formed with your leftover dough, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool the shell on a rack while you prepare the rest of the tart.

Mascarpone Cream

This cream is a heavenly combination of whipped pastry cream, whipped cream, and mascarpone cheese. I use the pastry cream recipe exactly as written on BraveTart.com so I have linked to it below instead of reposting the entire thing here.

yield, one 10'' tart

2 cups vanilla pastry cream, I used Stella aka

Brave Tart's Pastry Cream

8 ounces heavy cream

8 ounces mascarpone cream

1. Prepare the pastry cream and chill thoroughly.

2. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the chilled pastry cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the mascarpone and whip until well combined. Fold in the whipped cream and chill the mixture until ready to use.

To Assemble

For the tarts above I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, figs and gooseberries, but use whatever is fresh and beautiful in your market.

3-4 cups assorted fresh fruit

Prepared Tart Shell (recipe above)

Mascarpone Cream (recipe above)

Gently spread the mascarpone cream into the tart shell (you may have a bit extra) and top with fresh fruit. Serve immediately. This tart is best on the day that it is made, but it will last a day or two in the fridge if you don't mind a soggy crust.

Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit
Mascarpone Cream Tart with Fresh Fruit