So how are we all doing after Christmas day?
I hope everyone enjoyed a happy holiday period even if not actually celebrating Christmas. For those who were properly celebrating Christmas, I hope Santa visited and there was lots of magic, sparkle, good food and presents for you under the tree. I was given the beautiful new Martha Stewart cake book (which I know will provide lots of baking inspiration for 2014) as well as a totally unexpected gift - a beautiful new handbag - all because I hosted Christmas! For new handbags, I'll host Christmas every year!
Before we move into 2014, I wanted to share this tempting orange and ginger linzer torte recipe. This was one of the desserts that graced our table on Christmas day and it was rapturously received. Some clementine zest and spices in the pastry with orange and ginger jam in the centre made this tart appropriately festive, seasonal and perfect for the occasion. With the slightly tart taste of the orange jam cutting though the sweetness of the pastry, I think one of the reasons my family enjoyed this dessert so much was because it wasn't as sweet as they had expected.
You can also make this torte with any jam of your choice. As you can see below, I also made it with raspberry jam (I have to say that I preferred the raspberry version but I do have a sweeter tooth than most!)
Recipe adapted from www.londonbakes.com
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
150g ground almonds (or you can use walnuts or hazelnuts or as I did 50-50 of the nuts of your choice)
The zest of 3 clementines or one large orange
1 large egg
250g orange/clementine jam or marmalade (I used St Dalfour's orange and ginger spread)
1/4 tspn ground cloves
1 tspn ground cinammon
1/4 tspn ground ginger if using a plain orange jam/marmalade
Place the butter, flour, sugar, spices, ground almonds and clementine/orange zest in a processor and pulse until the butter has become pea sized.
Add the egg and pulse until the mixture has become dough like.
Bring the dough together with your hands and bring it into a ball shape. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 to 30 minutes.
Lightly brush a 23cm/9 inch loose bottom tart tin with sunflower oil.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut just over a quarter off. This is going to be for the lattice strips to go on top of the torte. You will need enough pastry to make 8 to 10 strips. So as not to be caught out (as I was the first time I made this torte!), you could roll these out first just to be sure you have removed enough pastry to form the lattice effect.
Place the remaining pastry in the tin and gently press the tart into the base of the tin and up the sides.
Spread the jam of your choice onto the base of the tart and then place the pastry strips over the top of the torte to make the lattice effect.
Cover with cling film and place the torte in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When ready, bake in a pre heated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes.
Allow your tart to slightly cool for a few minutes before removing it from its tin and proceeding to serve.
Serve with ice cream or double cream.
I first made this torte by blind baking the pastry (baking it for 15 minutes with baking beans and then 5 minutes without the beans), let the pastry completely cool before spreading the jam but the second time around I made the recipe as per the instructions above and the results seemed to be the same.
Before baking the torte, you could brush the pastry strips with beaten egg yolk. The orange and ginger tart was brushed with egg yolk but I forgot with the raspberry version!