Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vegan Cranberry Linzer Tart

In the wee days of my baking ventures there was one thing that I went berserk for: frozen shortcrust pastry. I loved it. Loooooved it.
Not so much because it baked beautifully, held its shape or had whatever other amiable properties a dough should have to be celebrated in the food blogging world. No, my fondness for this product was due only to the fact that I could snack on it in its purest unbaked, just-thawed form.

This partiality for eating raw dough is an innate trait I have inherited from my mother and to which I have resolutely stood by. Nothing could deter me, not salmonella, not even the threat of having flies in my belly from uncooked flour. The intense taste and soft consistency of any dough or batter is and will always remain unbeatable to me.

Since going vegan, however, the prospect of eating dough has lost at least its salmonella-threatening appeal, which means that we can all enjoy it a little more carelessly.

1/3 of the dough disappeared before hitting the pie dish

Which brings me to the original motive of this post, to tell you about this cranberry tart I have made last week. It was inspired by a jar of cranberry jam that stood unconsidered in the fridge, unable to appeal me. Too tart for just spreading on bread, it needed a sweet base to balance its tang, so Linzer it became. 

She requested to make it again for her birthday,
Great success!

Vegan Cranberry Linzer Tart

I patched and streamlined it from a couple of online recipes – it is fairly adaptable in terms of quantities, scale here, add there according to your taste and what you have on hand. 
I believe also it could do well with substitutes: hazelnuts instead of almonds, starch instead of flour, coconut oil for shortening. And if you want a more traditional taste, then go for rasperry jam, cinnamon and cloves.

400 grams almonds (I used whole with skins on, but any form of almonds will do)
250 grams diced vegetable shortening
200 grams all-purpose flour
1 packet of vanillin or vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon salt
200 grams brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mahlab
300 grams cranberry jam

Distribute almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in a 180 °C oven for 10 minutes or until they turn a darker shade of brown and smell heavenly. Transfer them in a food processor and pulse until finely ground (be careful not to turn them into almond butter.

Add all the other ingredients except for the jam and pulse again until they form a lightly sticky, soft dough.* Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours (I forgot about it for two days and it was fine).

When you are ready to assemble it, grease a 28 cm pie dish and if you like, preheat the oven to 170 °C (this is an unleavened dessert, preheating won't be crucial).

Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it covers generously the pie dish (you want to have extra dough for the stripes). Transfer the dough to the pie dish and trim the borders with the back of a knife.

Now, for the stripes: reassemble the remaining dough, roll it out and a) if you want to be fancy, freeze it for half an hour, then proceed as in here b) if you are like me, a gal with no freezer, just cut them รก la whatever and assemble so that you don't get a big crumbly mess.

Bake in a 170 °C oven for 35 minutes or until the crust has become harder and darker.
You can enjoy it straight away, but covering it in plastic wrap and waiting a couple of days will make the flavours mellow together and the slices easier to cut.

*If you don't have a food processor, start with ground almonds and toast them until golden. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl, melting the shortening will ease the task.

Before going in the oven.
The random stripes pattern turned out quite nicely in the end


  1. I love Linzer Tart! My dad makes a kick-ass one, but unfortunately he refuses to make it without butter. I am going to try your recipe one day!

  2. Your father has all my understanding, but I'd try to bribe him to test it: roasted almonds are up to the task of making up for the nutty yumminess of cooked butter :)