27 March 2017
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Linzer Torte Update II

My original Torte Reporte was early in 2009 and emphasized the early days of this particular obsession, beginning with the late Rigo Pastry Shop in NYC, and culminating in expeditions to Viking Bakery in rural New Jersey. My move to Arizona largely but not completely curtailed trips to Viking, and I can no long offer convincing reports due to sampling error and discouragement that their Linzer tortes have shrunk. Therefore, I am discontinuing the updates of the original reporte and will only offer anecdotal, sporadic updates for reasons that will become obvious.

Becoming Obvious

There is a "wall" across our central border, i.e., the Mississippi River. The same wall that converts radio and television station call signs from Ws on the east to Ks on the west seems to be impermeable to the passage of the Linzer Torte concept, if not the product itself. I have yet to have any pastries I've shipped destroyed in a kinetic, catastrophic explosion of powdered sugar and fruit filling somewhere between Hannibal and Memphis. But if you walk into a bakery and put them to the Question, you are met with blank stares.* Thus, it is only on rare occasions that I can even obtain a Linzer from a novel vendor.

A surprise! From the Far Side Bistro in Cottonwood, AZ, comes this pack of desserts. The Linzers were fair, the other confections better. Why Far Side? The owners are Iranian. (Get it?) Cafe Gigi in New York City offers this journeyman exemplar. Nothing worthy of comment or compliment.
As mentioned above, Santa Fe, New Mexico is a hotbed of smuggled Linzers, or so I surmise. These two examples are from Chez Mamou, just a short walk from the French Bakery memorialized in a previous Linzer Torte blog. Good but not up to French Bakery quality.
Cookies con Amore. The full size version of the photo for some reason came out very well. Sadly, the subject quality isn't up to that of the photo.
From a place called "Hot and Crusty." Linzers clearly aren't their specialty. Europa Cafe on some random street in New York City.
From Bashas', an Arizona food store chain. I obtained these by special pleading to the baker. Alas, she had little charisma with the dough and they are average at best. Fortunato Bakery, unremembered location, unremarkable quality.
From Eatily in New York City. Not bad, but expensive and impossible to obtain in Sedona. From Whole Foods Market, what they call a Linzer Square. Very good, if not exactly conforming to the standard. So far the local Whole Foods has discontinued them twice.
From the Main Street Bakery in Princeton, New Jersey. These are by far the best in the lot, with proper jellification and a somewhat soft but very flavorful cake. Because these are so good, the bakery has closed.
From Sedona Cake Couture a giant Linzer Torte, custom made, since they don't stock them.

Other than the now-closed Main Street Bakery in Princeton, I'm sad to say that none of the Linzers above measure up to those obtained elsewhere. Being (by now, at least) something of a connoisseur, I lament the lack of Linzers in my life. I'm unlikely to learn to manufacture them myself, although if desperation sets in, it's not out of the question.

*Except, unaccountably, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Perhaps the town was founded by smugglers.

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Not just any Harris Company, of which there must be hundreds, but Mike Harris's audio company with whom we've been doing business for decades. I still run into Mike at trade shows every couple of years. Something of a comfort, actually.

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