What are Linzer Biscuits?
A Linzertorte is a tart made using a rich buttery sable pastry. Popular at Christmas the pastry is flavoured with almond, cinnamon and lemon zest. Traditionally the pastry case is then filled with blackcurrant jam and topped with a lattice pastry top. The first recipe for Linzertorte dates back to Austrian in 1653. Linzer biscuits are made with the same sable pastry which is cut into rounds and baked.
The top biscuit often has a small cut out which allows the jam or fruit preserve to be seen when two biscuits are sandwiched together with jam in between. The finished biscuits are dusted with icing sugar. While the traditional cut out is circular, all sorts of shapes, such as hearts and stars, are also popular. The biscuit is popular across America and Europe and is also named as Empire or Belgium biscuits in the United Kingdom.
What is Sable Pastry?
Sable pastry is a rich butter type of sweet pastry similar to classic shortbread. The recipe for shortbread, however, does not contain eggs. Sable pastry or including the version in the recipe below is perfect for Christmas biscuits which can be decorated with Royal icing and hung on your Christmas tree.
- 250 gram Plain Flour
- 200 gram Salted Jersey Butter cut into small dice
- 100 gram Icing Sugar
- A pinch Salt
- 2 free-range Egg Yolks
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Raspberry, Blackcurrant and Apricot Jam
- Icing Sugar for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 325 F / 170 C / Gas Mark 3. Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until thoroughly incorporated and the mixture resembles sand or breadcrumbs.
- Mix the egg yolks and vanilla extract together and add into the flour and butter. Using a folk mix together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Place the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin carefully roll out so the pastry a half a centimetre thick. Cut into rounds with a four-centimetre cookie cutter.
- When all of the pastry is cut, divide the sable biscuits in two. Using a small fluted cutter, make a hole in the middle of half of the sable biscuits. Place all the sables on a lined baking tray.
- Bake the sables for ten minutes or just a little more, or until light golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the baking tray carefully place on a cooling rack.
- Using a teaspoon, place a small dollop jam on a whole sable. Place a biscuit with a hole over the first biscuit and sandwich together. Repeat until all the biscuits are finished with your choice of jam. Dust with icing sugar and serve.