Saturday, February 6, 2010

Linzer Muffins

On a recent trip to London, my friends Teresa and Kaspar took me to Princi, a Milanese bakery in SoHo. After a healthy salad, I stood indecisively over a vast counter of rustic pastries. I opted for a large slice of linzertorte – an almond-flavored cake spread with raspberry jam.

These muffins take their inspiration from linzertorte, a traditional Austro-Hungarian specialty now popular throughout central Europe. The torte is named after the Austrian city of Linz which was founded by the Romans and was famously home to Kepler, Bruckner, Hitler and Wittgenstein.

The earliest recipe for linzertorte dates back to the mid 17th century. Traditionally it consists of three layers – a bottom layer of pastry made largely with ground nuts (usually almonds, sometimes hazelnuts or pecans, and rarely walnuts), a middle layer of jam (traditionally black currant lekvar, though apricot and raspberry are also used), and a topping of dough strips arranged in a lattice pattern.

Linzertorte is especially popular during Christmas. In addition to cakes and muffin, the concept has been extended to cookies which I sometimes make for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Watch this space for the recipe…

Makes 12 muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/3 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds, untoasted, for garnish
confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a muffin pan with foil or paper liners. If using paper liners, spray them with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another, large bowl, beat an egg. Then add butter and sugar. Mix well. Add milk, lemon zest and almond extract.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

5. Distribute one heaping tablespoon of batter into each liner. Then add a teaspoon (or more) of jam. Fill liners with remaining batter.

6. Sprinkle each muffin with slivered almonds.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool muffins in their pan for 10 minutes.

8. These muffins can be served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.


Anonymous said...

These are SO NICE!! I made some to take in to work... am beginning to wonder if they'll make it to tomorrow so I can take them in!

Anonymous said...

linzertorte somehow sounds much more tasty than 'Bakewell tart' which is what the English version is called...

~~louise~~ said...

Now don't they look delectable! I love the garnish of history. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Aly. I've never heard of Linzer Muffins before, intriguing...

Anonymous said...

we made the linzer muffin recipe you posted the other month today (i am
remembering this correctly, yes?) -- they're super great, thanks!"

Glassgal4ever said...

I made these delicious muffins after speaking with Aly. He mentioned they might be on the dry side so I halved the milk and added a cup of applesauce. This is a trick I've learned to moisten recipes, without noticeably changing the flavor. I also used rectangular muffin tins which allowed me to make a trench of raspberry filling, so each bite was a taste explosion. The muffins were a hit!