Ischl Tartlets

Ischler Törtchen

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    12

    large cookies

Appears in

Bad Ischl in Upper Austria was the favorite summer spot of Franz Josef, and therefore of the entire blue-blooded population of Vienna. (One of the best bakeries in the world, Zauner, is located in Bad Ischl, and there’s nothing like having an emperor as your best customer to ensure quality control.) These large, crisp sandwich cookies, filled with preserves and glazed with chocolate, became popular with vacationers, who took them back home and thereby spread their popularity. The tartlets are now firmly ensconced in the cookie selection of every bakery along the Danube. Sometimes they are filled with a chocolate buttercream, but I love the contrast between the tart preserves and the sweet chocolate glaze.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • cup natural or blanched
  • sliced almonds
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at cool room temperature
  • cup confectioners’ sugar

Filling

  • ½ cup raspberry or red currant preserves, stirred to loosen

Glaze

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios, for garnish

Method

  1. To make the dough: Process the flour, almonds, and salt in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground, almost a flour.
  2. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until smooth. On low speed, beat in the confectioners’ sugar, just until combined. Using a spoon, stir in the nut flour to make a stiff dough. Gather into two thick disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (If the dough is chilled until firm, let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.)
  3. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one portion of dough into a ⅛-inch-thick round. The dough may seem crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together with rolling. Using a 2½-inch round fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies, and place on the sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gather up the scraps and set aside. Repeat with the other half of dough. Combine the scraps and knead together until smooth. Roll out and cut out cookies to make a total of 24.
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, switching the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Cool slightly on the sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Using about 1 teaspoon of preserves for each, sandwich two cookies together, smooth sides facing in. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on a wire rack set over a jelly-roll pan.
  7. To make the glaze: Place the chocolate, coffee, and water in the top part of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the butter. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
  8. Pour the warm glaze over the top of each cookie, using a small offset spatula to smooth it over the top and around the sides. Sprinkle a pinch of chopped pistachios in the center of each glazed cookie. Refrigerate until the glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

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