This strawberry hazelnut tart is in honor of an unsung American hero, the general who emigrated from Poland to America to help the revolutionary cause. He showed up on Benjamin Franklin’s doorstep in Philadelphia and volunteered to lead the troops. In 1776, the Continental Congress commissioned him Colonel of Engineers and he fortified America’s forts and rivers against the British Navy and designed West Point. This dish is made as a tribute to the great general, engineer and freedom fighter because he wrote that he loved strawberries, a fruit that grew wild and abundant in his “second home, ” America.
Makes one 9-inch tart
4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 cups almonds, toasted and finely ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry jam
Chantilly Cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325°F., and butter a 9 x 1 3/8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- To make the pastry, stir together the flour, almonds, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a large bowl. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until it forms a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Dust the work surface and about half of the chilled dough lightly with flour and roll into a circle about 11 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Ease the pastry into the prepared tart pan, being careful not to stretch it, and gently press it into the sides of the pan. Trim any excess from the edges. Roll the remaining pastry into a 10-inch square about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into ten 1-inch-wide strips.
- To assemble the linzertorte, spread the strawberry jam evenly over the bottom pastry, and weave the pastry strips diagonally over the jam to create a lattice. Press the ends of the strips into the edges of the bottom crust, trimming any excess as necessary.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, and remove it to a rack to cool completely.
- Gently remove the sides of the tart pan, place the linzertorte on a serving platter, and serve with chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream.
Chef’s Note: This recipe is quite versatile and can also be used to make delicate linzer cookies. Simply cut the dough into rounds and cut out the centers of half of the rounds with a smaller cookie cutter. Spread the full rounds with jam, place the remaining rounds on top, and bake just until golden.