About a decade ago, I spent a year teaching English in a small town in Austria called Reutte. While I was there, I met some really fantastic people, saw some really fantastic sites and ate some really fantastic baked goods.
One treat in particular, the Linzertorte, was a favorite of mine – a tart filled with raspberry or currant jam and topped with almonds and a lattice crust. This rich, buttery deliciousness was named after the Austrian city of Linz. I heard the Linzertorte is one of the oldest cakes in the world, with recipes dating back to the 1600’s, but I have also heard its creation attributed to more than three different chefs in three different cities, so who really knows. I just know I love it, and it kept me on a fairly consistent sugar high for the better part of a year from early morning English lessons to late night grading sessions, periods of crippling homesickness to days of celebration for FINALLY being mistaken for a local.
On a weekend trip I happened upon a more portable version of the treat – Linzer Plätzchen. These jam-filled cookies made the perfect on-the-go snack for long train rides, Alpine hikes and city exploration.
Fast forward to six years ago in Columbus, Ohio. I was just starting my bakery business and was brainstorming ideas for using local ingredients in new and interesting ways in my recipes. Enter the Apple Butter Linzer, my personal favorite variety currently being offered here at Kitschen. The concept was simple – incorporate unique whole grains (buckwheat in this case) and locally-made preserves (apple butter) for a sweet "Ohio" treat.
I often find myself feeling a little nostalgic for the good old days of mountains, cows (yes, the cows are different in Austria) and a fairly indescribable but thoroughly enjoyable Austrian quirkiness. That’s when I pull out the raspberry preserves from my local farmer friends, candy myself some almonds (with bourbon, of course) and enjoy my own “Ohio” take on a very old, very yummy sweet treat that got me through a year of mountainous ups and downs, literally and figuratively.