It is composed of a thick crust made from at least flour, almond powder, butter and flavoured with cinnamon. The Austrian version is filled with red current jam while the French one is filled with raspberry jam. The jam is covered by a lattice of dough or some other kind of decoration made with the dough.
It has the reputation of being the oldest pastry recipe in the world.
As many traditional recipe there is a lot of variations in the proportions of different ingredients and also on the added spice. I propose to explain how my mother who came from Alsace learned me how to do this traditional pie.
Step 1: Ingredients and Material
In the order we will use them:
For the dough
- Butter (unsalted) 125 g (150ml) at room temperature
- Sugar 125 g (2/3 cup)
- 1 lemon (organic one)
- 1 egg
- 3 cloves (or clove powder)
- Kirsch 1 table spoon (it can be replaced by another brandy or by lemon juice)
- Almond powder 125g (1.5 cup)
- Flour 250 g (2 cups)
- Cinnamon 1 table spoon
For the filling
- Raspberry Jam one jar (250g), don't use jelly
For the decoration
- 1 egg and some sugar OR some icing sugar
- A Mixing bowl
- Some bowls different size
- A rolling pin (or a wine bottle)
- A pie pan or a pie circle or a baking pan
- A grater
- A small mortar
- A knife
Step 2: Prepare and Measure All the Ingredients (don't Miss the Lemon)
- Prepare the lemon zest: carefully wash the lemon and grate the zest on a plate. I prefer to use an organic one as the pesticides stay on the skin... If you don't have a grater, then cut the zest in very fine slices and chop them as little as you can.
- Crush the 3 cloves in the mortar as fine as possible. You can also crush them with a table spoon on a plank or use clove powder.
- In a small glass add the lemon zest and the crushed cloves to the kirsch (or 1/2 lemon juice): it will allow the flavor to reveal in the liquid.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, almond powder, cinnamon and salt.
Step 3: Doing the Dough
Now, we are ready to do the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, with a whisk or with your hand mix the butter, with the sugar, then add one egg.
Once it is well melted add the kirsch mix.
Then add the remaining dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or with hands.
Once the dough is soft and homogeneous leave it to rest for 1 or 2 hours (or even one night). It will allow for all the flavour of spices and lemon to melt and develop.
Step 4: Making the Pie Body
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)
Use 2/3 of the dough for the bottom, the other 1/3 will be used for the lattice or decoration.
Flour the work surface, put the dough on it.
Roll the dough on a floured surface. It is easier if the dough is not too cold. Stop when the thickness is around 1cm (1/3po) and large enough to cover your pan (or when it has the desired size). Put the pan on it and cut the excess of dough in following the border. Remove the pan and gently transfer the dough in the pan.
Roll again the remaining dough, still 1cm (1/3po) of thickness and cut a strip of 1.5cm wide (1/2po), the length will correspond to the circumference of the pan. Apply some water on the border of the pie and paste the strip on the border of the crust.
Step 5: Filling and Decorating the Pie
Spread the pie with a heavy layer of jam but be careful it may overflow during the cooking. The level of the jam should be bellow the border height.
Made a ball with the remaining part of the dough and the 1/3 left and roll it again but thinner (around 2 mm) and in a long shape. Cut some strips and some decorations depending on the final look you want for your pie.
Delicately put the strip on the jam, cutting them exactly when they touch the border, rotating the orientation to do the traditional lattice in diamond shape.
Finally whisk one egg with some sugar and lightly wipe it on the lattice and on the border.
Step 6: Cooking and Eating
Put in the oven for around 20 minutes. Keep it at 180C (350F).
Verify if the jam doesn't overflow (put a pan underneath if it is the case).
The pie is ready when it is well coloured.
Wait until it is completely cold before eating it. It is very good with a glass of milk or equivalent.
Step 7: Alternatives
You can made as many size and as many shape as you want.
The more frequent is the one portion size, with a round shape and a round hole in the center.
Also it can be decorated with iced sugar instead of egg
You can use red current jam but it is less tasty.
Finally the lattice can be replaced by some shapes depending on the purpose of the pie.
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