Who would've thought that the Linzer torte is the oldest recorded recipe in the world? It doesn’t have the appearance, or ingredients, of a particularly aged dish, yet the first written recipe for it was found to have been written in 1653.
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16 May 2013 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

However, history aside, I didn’t have great hopes for this Linzer torte – it just seemed too simple to be really delicious. The short pastry is enhanced with spices and lemon zest and also contains toasted ground almonds (which I did in a frying pan on the stovetop in a few minutes). A food processor made it easy to rub the butter through, although I probably took it a little too far beyond the "breadcrumb" stage, and then worked the egg yolk in with my hands.

I used a round, loose-bottomed tart tin and had more than enough pastry to line it with. I found the pastry a little difficult to work with – whether I roll it between two sheets of cling film or baking paper, it always seems to slide all over the bench. Any suggestions for how I can improve this would be happily accepted. Refrigeration is key for this recipe, so there was a bit of other kitchen action happening as it was in and out of the fridge. My lattice work definitely left something to be desired, but I managed to get a decent approximation – however, I won’t be setting up a patisserie anytime soon.

The big surprise with this torte was how good it tasted. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting much from jam with pastry, but the combination of nuts, spices and lemon zest worked brilliantly with the strawberry jam to create a dessert that is simple and very more-ish. And, yes, of course it works with ice-cream.

What simple dish has surprised you?

Feast editor