Cranberry Linzer Tart Recipe

Isn't this Cranberry Linzer Tart just beautiful? You know, as if it came from a European bakery, the places where the pastries taste as good as they look? But I made it and you can too!

The crust is made with toasted almonds and – get this – pressed into the tart pan. That's right, no rolling! The recipe comes from a brand-new European tart cookbook published by my friend Helen, a long-time professional baker and the "goddess of pastry". Her bakery Truffes is the source of the recipes but you'll see, they're not the "hard" bakery recipes, they're the "easy" bakery recipes that home cooks can handle with ease. Helen's cookbook has given me so much confidence, we're hosting a holiday dessert party this weekend!

Cranberry Linzer Tart

At age 18, I arrived in Finland tall and slim, the way nearly all girls that age once were. That year as an exchange student, I discovered European bread, European yogurt, European cheese and oh my – European pastries, especially the European tarts that taste as good as they look. No surprise that when I got on a train to Moscow with friends nine months later, I ignored my father’s strict orders to not sell blue jeans, and sold two pairs to a sleezy guy near Red Square, destroying the size-small evidence.

So I was thrilled when my friend Helen S. Fletcher shared the news that she is documenting her bakery’s recipes in a series of cookbooks. Just the first title might make bakers tremble: European Tarts: Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking.

Let me tell you about Helen. For two decades, she owned a high-end bakery called “Truffes” here in St. Louis. She was a professional “home baker” in a commercial setting, crafting wholesale handmade small-scale pastries, developing recipes and refining techniques for St. Louis’ best hotels, restaurants and caterers.

Along the way, she published the New Pastry Cook: Modern Methods for Making Your Own Classic and Contemporary Pastries. Rose Levy Berenbaum, herself author of The Cake Bible, The Bread Bible, the Pie and Pastry Bible calls Helen the “goddess of pastry”! (Rose's cookbooks.)

At age 73, Helen is whirlwind of energy – and cake! and tarts! She is the pastry chef at Tony’s, St. Louis’ most venerated dining establishment, and teaches classes at Kitchen Conservatory.

And of course, this week she launches her first book in 16 years – documenting Truffes’ recipes and techniques in a hardcover book, an e-book and a companion website with step-by-step photos.

You’ll love-love-love Helen's Cranberry Linzer Tart, I think. It took me an hour to make the first time, I bet that with experience, I could put this together, start to finish, in 30 minutes! The tart dough is easy to handle, no rolling required, and thanks to all toasted almonds, tastes nutty instead of floury!

More information about Helen and her books:

The Ardent Cook – Helen’s blog, not just sweets, real food, all good! Regular readers will remember it was Helen who shared recipes I published here as Snickers Cookies and Fried vs Baked Zucchini Sticks. – Where you can buy a copy of Helen’s book. – Check here for step-by-step photos for Helen’s European Tart cookbook recipes.

St. Louis Magazine – An in-depth and personal profile published this week.

ALANNA’s TIPS Helen recommends making her Cranberry Linzer Tart a day ahead but I had no trouble serving it for dessert one evening, 8 hours after baking. Two particularly enthusiastic taste testers insisted on second slices for breakfast the next day “just to see if it’s different”. A few hours to fully cool and flavors to meld is a good idea, however. Consider making a double batch of the Cranberry Jam, it isn’t terribly sweet and is great for scones, toast, turkey sandwiches, etc. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this with my Cranberry Chutney or a thick marmalade or a thick apricot or dried apricot jam. Sorry, darn it, I didn’t measure how much volume of Cranberry Jam there is but it spread a scant half inch thick. UPDATE: You'll need about 2-1/4 cups of a thick jam. Helen uses cinnamon in the crust, I like it with nutmeg, too. A kitchen scale (this is my favorite, I love it) really helps here, for measuring the ingredients of course but also for breaking the dough into pieces. That said? This isn’t a particularly fragile tart, a little variation won’t hurt so if you don’t have a scale, you’ll have no trouble just eyeballing the dough. If you happen to have a marble board, the dough needn’t be chilled. Do spray or butter the tart pan carefully, getting into all those ridges on the side. I had to carefully insert a thin metal cake tester into most of the ridges to slowly release the tart from the tart pan. Next time, for contrast and a little extra drama, I’d like to use pearled sugar, the rough, bright white bits of sugar some times called “Swedish sugar”. One of the best things about Helen’s Cranberry Linzer Tart is that the slices cut so neat and tidy!


Photo Tutorial
Hands-on time: 1 hour, start to finish
Time to table: 9 - 24 hours
Makes a 9-inch tart to serve 12 or 16
  • 12 ounces (340g) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (my addition)
  • 1 cup (5oz/155g) toasted almonds, skins on
  • 1-2/3 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 205 grams
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon or my favorite, nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks, 170g) cold salted butter, cut into small bits
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Powdered sugar

CRANBERRY JAM Rinse the cranberries under running water in a colander, discard any unripe or blemished berries. Combine cranberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the cranberries “pop”. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thick, stirring often, about 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Set aside to cool while finishing the tart shell.

TART SHELL While the cranberries cook, heat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pay special attention to the sides.

In a food processor, process the almonds, flour and cinnamon until almonds are powdery. Add butter and process until butter is fully worked in, then add sugar and work in. Add egg yolks and process until a ball forms, this can take 1 – 1-1/2 minutes. (I needed to split the dough in two for this to work.) Patience!

Now separate the dough into four pieces. Follow along, these few steps are easier to do than to write!

LATTICE First, remove 3/4 cup (200g) of the dough and divide into 10 equal balls. If the dough hasn’t been chilled, place these on a plate and refrigerate until ready to use.

DIVIDE Divide remaining piece of dough into two equal pieces.

WITH ONE PIECE, FORM THE SIDES Place the tart pan in front of your work area for a measuring guide. With the fingers of both hands outstretched, roll one piece into a rope long enough to encircle about half the pan. Arrange the rope along the inside edge of your pan; with your fingers, press the dough up the sides and a tiny bit onto the bottom, keep the dough an even thickness.

WITH THE OTHER PIECE, FORM THE BASE Press the remaining piece into the bottom of the tart pan, forming the base. To seal the tart, press the base and sides together so no line is visible.

ADJUST THE EDGE With your fingers, even out the top edge of the tart against the edge of the tart pan, filling any crevices, flattening so a bit that it doesn’t extend over the top of the tart pan.

FILL Spread Cranberry Jam evenly across the base.

FORM LATTICE One at a time, remove lattice balls from the fridge. Roll it into a rope the diameter of the tart pan, arrange it across the center. Roll four more ropes, put two on each side of the center rope, pinching off any excess. On the diagonal, repeat with the remaining five ropes, one in the center, two on each side.

BAKE For even baking, place tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely. Let tart sit for at least one day before serving.

TO SERVE Remove from tart pan and arrange tart on a serving plate. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS The Cranberry Jam may be made 1 – 2 days ahead, just cover with plastic wrap, touching the berries to avoid formation of a “film”. Helen says the dough can be made a day or two ahead, just cover well and chill. But I didn't have luck with this and won't do that again. Helen says that the whole tart, baked and cooled, may be double-wrapped in waxed paper and frozen. Bring to room temperature before slicing.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice, assuming 16/12 slices: 220/294 Calories; 13/18g Tot Fat; 6/8g Sat Fat; 49/65mg Cholesterol; 62/83mg Sodium; 23/31g Carb; 2/3g Fiber; 17/23g Sugar; 3/4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5/7 & WW Points Plus 5/8.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a European tart recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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More Recipes for Beautiful European Tarts

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Finnish Fruit Tart Easy Elegant Fruit Tart Cranberry Linzer Tart (above)

Cranberry Linzer Tart – Photo Tutorial

(recipe above, hover above each photo for more information)
Gather ingredients. Break dough into three pieces. Roll a rope half the size.
Press the rope to form the sides. Press in the base. Just press it in!
Spread the cranberry jam. Roll ten ropes, arrange across the top. Arrange the cross pieces on the diagonal.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I have NEVER EVER EVER made a tart before. I think I could make this!

  2. This looks like a wonderful tart - authentically European indeed. I love that you only need to press the dough into the pan!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna