Linzer cookies originate from Linz, Austria, but are also a true staple in French baking. The king of French Pastry, Christophe Felder, devotes 4 pages to the Linzer pastry in his book “Patisserie, Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry” – a book considered to be the bible of all aspiring French pastry chefs.
The traditional version of the Linzer cookie from Austria comes in a light-brown colored shortbread, with a raspberry jam filling, finished off with a generous dust of icing sugar on top. But growing up in Brittany, France – the land of butter and buttery sables – I only knew them as delicate golden buttery sables, usually filled with strawberry or apricot jam, and certainly with no icing sugar on them. I would often nibble on two or three for my after-school “goûter” (4pm snack time in French), dipping them in a big glass of fresh milk.
And while the traditional raspberry cookies are classics during the chilly Holiday season, I find these “Brittany-style” almond blueberry linzer sables to be simply perfect for spring days. The basic Linzer pastry dough ingredients are still there: ground almonds, white flour, icing sugar and egg yolks – but the ratio of butter is much more generous. These sables have a softer texture (more sandy than crumbly), and a delicate nutty background pairing beautifully with the seasonal taste of an embracing blueberry jam. The lemon zest binds it all together, adding a nice sparkle as well.
I invite you to fill these delightful little sables with any fruit-jam of your choice. Apricot, strawberry, raspberry or even lemon jam are just as lovely. You can also use any shape of cookie cutter, as long as you make sure that your larger cookie cutter is 2-inches wide, and that your smaller cookie cutter (for the holes) is a ½ inch smaller.