Cranberry Linzer Tart Recipe

Isn't this tart just beautiful? You know, as if you picked it up at a European bakery, one of those places where the pastries taste as good as they look?! But I make 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". You'll see, the cookbook omits the "hard" bakery recipes and instead features 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 ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

A Bakery-Beautiful Tart, Super-Easy for a Home Baker. Beautiful Color! No-Fuss Tart Dough Mixed in Food Processor and Pressed By Hand into Tart Pan. Extra Welcome at Festive Meals and Dessert Buffets During the Holidays. A New Addition to The Homemade Pantry, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Budget Friendly. Great for Food Gifts. Easy DIY. Vegetarian. So Pretty! So Good!!

My Beating Heart: European Pastries That Taste As Good As They Look

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 may set bakers a-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, Helen published the The New Pastry Cook: Modern Methods for Making Your Own Classic and Contemporary Pastries (affiliate link).

Even Rose Levy Berenbaum (herself author of The Cake Bible, The Bread Bible, the Pie and Pastry Bible to say nothing of recipes published in bags of flour) calls Helen the “goddess of pastry”! See for yourself! These are Rose's cookbooks (affiliate link).

At age 73 now age 84, Helen remains a 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 the 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. Do check out European Tarts: Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking (affiliate link).

You’ll love-love-love Helen's Cranberry Linzer Tart, I think!

More About Helen S. Fletcher & Her Books

What is "Linzer" Anyway? What Does It Mean?

Linz is the second largest metropolitan area in Austria, the term Linzer means "of Linz" or "from Linz". The city is famous for Linzer Tortes, tortes that date back to the 1600s. The tortes use a nutty shortbread crust and a red fruity filling, some times red currant, some times raspberry, some times apricot. It's a big deal during the holidays.

As riffs on the original torte popped up over the years (bars, biscuits, cookies, cake, hearts, kuchen, squares, shortbread, slices, and on, and on), "Linzer" came to mean any pastry where something red and sweet sits atop a bottom crust but peeks through a top crust (as in this tart) or a top layer (as in Linzer cookies with a heart shape cut from the top cookie).

So in today's culinary lingo, any pastry with "Linzer" in its name is likely a sweet something with red jam peeking through a top layer. Similarly, "Florentine" has come to signify foods made with spinach and "black forest" has come to mean something sweet that blends chocolate and cherries and "ala mode" means with ice cream. It's like a secret language!

About This Recipe: Cranberry Linzer Tart

  • This is an impressive-looking European-style tart with a colorful cranberry jam that tops a nutty bottom crust and peeks through a lattice top crust. Despite its bakery-bought appearance, the tart is surprisingly easy to make since the crust is patted into the tart pan and even the lattice is just tart dough rolled into ropes.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Cranberries + Almonds
  • Short Ingredient List for the Cranberry Jam = fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried) + sugar + almond extract
  • Short Ingredient List for the Tart Crust = toasted almonds + flour + cinnamon or nutmeg + butter + sugar + 2 egg yolks
  • For Garnish = powdered sugar
  • Time-wise, this tart took me an hour to make the first time. Since then, with experience, I put it together and ready for the oven, start to finish, in 30 minutes. The tart dough is easy to handle, no rolling required.
  • After baking, do allow several hours for the tart to cool and settle in. This also helps you cut neat, pretty slices for serving.
  • This tart is really beautiful, it definitely looks "store bought" but instead is made from scratch at home with common baking ingredients. In addition, the crust is especially good thanks toasted almonds, it tastes nutty instead of floury!
  • You might think that a fancy-looking tart like this would require some really special technique or special tools. Instead, the only "technique" that's needed is the ability to roll some dough into ropes, just using your hands to roll the dough on a clean surface like a kitchen countertop.
  • A tart pan makes for an extra-nice appearance, it has ribbed sides and a removable bottom which makes it easy to lift the cooled tart out of the pan to display on a cake plate or cake stand. That said, a special pan isn't essential. You might bake the tart in a shallow quiche pan, just line the bottom with parchment so it can lift out easily or just butter the quiche pan well cut the tart like a pie, removing the slices one by one.
  • This is pantry-friendly recipe, no hard-to-find ingredients or online orders required.
  • This is a budget-friendly recipe, a tart like this would cost $30 or $40 in a bakery — and because most American bakeries just don't get European pastries, it probably wouldn't taste half as good either.
  • The recipe yields a 9-inch tart, enough to serve 12 or even 16 in thin slices.
  • I hope you love it!

  • I have another recipe which is quite similar, except that crust is plain (no almonds) and the jam comes from a jar (so pick your favorite flavor). And it makes up in just 15 minutes! Be sure to check out this Easy-Easy Jam Tart.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other recipes for pies and tarts.
Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

How to Make This Cranberry Linzer Tart – Photo Tutorial

Don't let that beautiful crust intimidate you. Seriously. It's just a matter of (1) breaking the dough into pieces; (2) rolling parts of the dough into ropes for the tart sides and lattice topping; (3) pressing the dough with your fingers into the sides and the bottom crust.

The dough is supple and easy to work work, you can tell, it just wants you to produce a bakery-beautiful tart!

First collage showing how to make Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

[collage, above]
upper left | gather your ingredients, this is called "mise en place", a French term pronounced [mees-en-PLOS], then make the dough.
upper right | break the dough into three pieces, one for the tart's sides, some for its base, another for the ten balls that will be rolled into the lattice ropes.
lower left | for the sides, first roll a rope about half the length of the inside perimeter.
lower right | use your fingers to press that rope up the sides of the tart pan, forming the sides then repeat with the second piece.

Second collage showing how to make Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

[collage, above]
upper left | once the sides are formed, you'll form the tart's base.
upper right | it's easy to form the base, just use your fingertips.
lower left | now spread the Cranberry Jam across the tart shell.
lower right | roll ten ropes, the first one will cross the center, right in the middle, then two each will go on either side.

Third and final collage showing how to make Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!

[collage, above]
top | place the cross ropes on the diagonal, now it's ready for the oven.
bottom | this tart is a beauty, for sure!

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Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!


Photo Tutorial
Hands-on time: 1 hour up front, start to finish
Oven time: 40 - 45 minutes
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 the cranberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the cranberries "pop". Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the cranberries thicken, stirring often, about 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in almond extract. Set aside to cool while finishing the tart shell.

TART SHELL While the cranberries cook, heat the oven to 350F/180C. 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 the almonds are powdery. Add the butter and process until the butter is fully worked in, then add the sugar and work it in too. Add the egg yolks and process until a ball forms, this can take 1 – 1-1/2 minutes. (I usually 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 the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely. Let the tart sit for several hours before serving.

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

RESOURCE Visual learners, you'll definitely want to check out the Photo Tutorial depicting how to press in the bottom crust and roll out the dough into ropes for the pretty lattice crust.

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 don't have luck with this and don't do that anymore. Helen says that the whole tart, baked and cooled, may be double-wrapped in waxed paper and frozen. Bring to room temperature before slicing.

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 tart 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 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. But if you're contemplating an investment in one, (this is my favorite (affiliate link), I love it and use it multiple times a day. 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. It takes a thin metal cake tester inserted into most of the ridges to slowly release the tart from the tart pan. For contrast and a little extra drama, think about using pearled sugar, the rough, bright white bits of sugar some times called “Swedish sugar”. It's not easy to find in stores but is available online, see Swedish Pearl Sugar (Swedish Snow) (affiliate link). One of the best things about Helen’s Cranberry Linzer Tart is that the slices cut so neat and tidy!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for recipe information, how-to photos, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION 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 Old Points 5/7 & PointsPlus 5/8 & future WW points
Adapted from European Tarts: Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking (affiliate link) by my friend, the human dynamo Helen Fletcher My Disclosure Promise

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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  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