St. Galler Klostertorte
It's hard to imagine anything better than the Linzertorte, that glorious mix of sandy, buttery hazelnuts and tart, ruby jam from Linz, Austria. Imagine my surprise at discovering the St Galler Klostertorte, its cousin from over the alps, made Swiss by adding, of course, chocolate.
The Kloster of St Gallen
The torte comes from the Kloster, or monastery of St Gallen, in Eastern Switzerland. According to the Kulinarisches Erbe, the first mention of the Klostertorte was in 1947 in Rosa Graf's Goldene Kochfibel, and it wasn't in the form we know today. Rather, two separate tortes were mentioned, the St Galler Torte (made with hazelnuts and cocoa powder, topped with a dough cover) and the Klostertorte (with almonds and cinnamon, and a latticed topping) both filled with jam. By 1967, the two had been amalgamated into the St Galler Klostertorte of today.
Recipes for the torte exist online, as well as in Betty Bossi's Swiss recipe compendium, Schwiizer Chuchi.
Annemarie Wildeisen's recipe includes a footnote stating that the flavour of the cake improves one to two days after it's made. If it lasts that long.
I have these lovely little cutters that I overuse every autumn on all manner of pies, cakes, tarts and breads. If you're in the market for cutters, they're great, and normally sold with cake decorating supplies.
My sister in law works for a distillery and I feel a certain familial pressure to add spirits to pretty much all of my baked goods. This is, of course, optional.
The raspberry jam in this particular St Galler Klostertorte was enriched with bubbles that would later be used for toasting our new flat in Bern. Zum wohl!
200 g butter, soft
150 g sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, room temperature
200 g flour
120 g ground almonds, toasted
100 g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
300 g raspberry jam (spiked with champagne or spirits, if desired)
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4
Line the bottom of a 10 inch / 26 cm round tart pan or springform pan.
In a large bowl, whip the butter, sugar and salt together until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, toasted nuts, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mixed just until combined.
Wrap with plastic and let cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
Once cooled, use a little flour and roll out two thirds of the dough into a circle. Place this into the bottom of the pan. If there are cracks, lightly press in some extra dough.
For the rim of the torte, you can either cut out enough shapes from the remaining third of the dough to form an edge (as above), or you can simply roll some of the dough out into a long tube and press it along the perimeter.
Once the rim is made, you can spread the jam (whisked, and spiked with spirits, if desired) over the torte.
Roll out the remaining dough and make some decorations. There is no prescribed shape or method. It could have a lattice top, or sometimes forms are simply cut out and arranged at will.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
- The size of the pan isn't too important; you could also make smaller tarts, or even roll out and bake any leftover dough as individual cookies. The smaller the items, the shorter baking time they will require.
- If, after adding the eggs, the batter looks scrambled, it could be because the eggs were too cold and caused the butter to seize up. Don't panic. You can either warm up the mixture by placing the whole bowl in a larger bowl (or sink) of warm water, or just add a little bit of flour and it should even out.
- If you like a shiny crust, whisk one egg, and brush this onto the rim and decorations before baking.
- It's a bit difficult to tell when this torte is finished because of the dark colour of the dough. When you can really smell it, and the decorations look dry, it should be done.