Happy Birthday Randy

January 3, 2011

First things first.  The chocolate winners.  My trusty assistants picked their numbers, I took their picture, and I accidentally deleted that picture.  I just realized this.  So, I turned to a random number generator which gave me the following:

38 86

Random numbers generated Jan 2 2011 at 16:14:41 by www.psychicscience.org
Free educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.

So, #38 is Jackie whose best gift was healthy children and a hot shower without interruption from children (I completely understand the value of that gift).

#86 is Sonnet whose best gift was coming home to a cat who had not ripped up her apartment!

Please contact me within a week at danatreat{at}gmail{dot}com so I can get your addresses!

Thank you to everyone who shared your holidays gifts.  I was so moved by many of the things I read.  I have such thoughtful readers!

I know this first post of the new year should be something healthy, right?  Has everyone gone on their post holiday/resolution diet?  Well today, January 2nd, is Randy’s birthday.  It is probably the worst day to have a birthday of the entire year.  Everyone is sick of eating, drinking, spending money, and partying.  Everyone has just given up drinking, or sworn off dessert, or vowed to put a hold on spending.  Poor guy.  So I always try and do something nice for his birthday.  And I always bake.  This year, his parents are in town so we are having a weekend-long celebration and we are also doing a party next weekend.

This is a riff on a linzer tart.  Rather than be filled with just jam, it has a layer of chocolate and fresh raspberries.  And rather than the traditional lattice crust, you cut out cookies from the crust dough to make a more playful presentation.

Years and years ago, before I was much good at baking, my mom made this tart to bring to Christmas dinner.  I fell in love with it as did everyone at the table.  She confided in me that it was actually surprisingly easy to make.  I was having friends over for dinner a week later and I decided to make the tart.  My friend John asked me, in all seriousness, where I had bought it, and my journey on the baking path started.  I made this lovely dessert several times that year, always to rave reviews, and then it fell by the wayside.

In thinking of desserts for Randy’s birthday, I came back to this tart.  It was just time for it to reappear in my life.  I know that in previous incarnations, I have used small heart cookie cutters or small star cookie cutters for the top, but in looking for them, I found my number cookie cutters from my childhood.  So yes, Randy turns 43 today.  Happy birthday honey!

One Year Ago: Chickpea. Lentil and Vegetable Stew and Orecchiette with Roasted Beets, Fennel, and Toasted Almonds

Linzer Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart

The recipe I have is copied from my mom’s and is in my own handwriting.  I’m not sure where it came from originally but probably either Bon Appétit or Gourmet.  In my experience, the jam that is brushed on the berries make the topping kind of wet.  You will want to carefully put the cookies on top so they don’t get soaked and ruin the look.  I would not travel with this tart for that reason.

2/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1½ cup flour
½ cup ground toasted blanched almonds
¾ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 pints fresh raspberries
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
Powdered sugar

Beat the sugar, butter, and egg until creamy.  Add flour, almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until just well combined.  Measure ¾ cup of the dough.  Flatten that portion into a disk, wrap in plastic, and put in the refrigerator.  Using floured fingertips, press the remaining dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan.  Pierce several times with a fork.  Refrigerate at least one hour and up to one day.

Roll out the rest of dough on floured surface to ½-inch thickness.  Use 2 or 3-inch star cookie cutters and cut out as many cookies as possible.  Do not reroll dough.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Bake crust until light golden, pierce with toothpick if it bubbles, about 15 minutes.  Put on rack and cool.  Bake cookies about 6 minutes until light golden.  Transfer to a rack and cool.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Spread the chocolate over the cooled crust.  Arrange berries over the chocolate, spacing evenly.  Stir the jam in a small saucepan until liquid and smooth.  Carefully brush the jam over the berries.  Bake for about 30 minutes, covering with foil if the crust starts to get too brown.  Transfer to a rack and cool.

Once completely cool, arrange the cookies on top so they are touching.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


  1. I am totally officially on my new year’s diet. but i need to get my fix from somewhere, right? Thank god there are no calories to be gained from looking. Because otherwise I would have gained at least 50 pounds today. Those that can eat, ogle. Right?

    Lindzer tarts are a favorite of mine and I love how you doctored up something that was already super delicious by adding chocolate. Genius.

    Happy birthday Randy!

    Comment by Joanne — January 3, 2011 @ 3:01 am

  2. This is beautiful! I love the 43 on top! How special.
    Happy birthday to your hubby.
    Henry’s is on Tuesday, but we are going out!

    Comment by stacey snacks — January 3, 2011 @ 3:14 am

  3. Happy Birthday Randy. As someone in the near to Christmas birthday I can relate to his pain but I think this desert more than makes up for it! I need to bookmark this to make for my husband’s birthday in March. And I love the cookie cut outs for the top – so cute.

    Comment by Charlotte — January 3, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  4. You’re not kidding! This tart looks absolutely amazing and I might just be able to make it…. after the holiday food settles of course. :-)

    Happy Birthday, Randy!

    Comment by Libby — January 3, 2011 @ 5:51 am

  5. This is beautiful, Dana! What a lucky guy!

    Comment by Clara — January 3, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  6. Oh my goodness, this one is getting book marked for sure! I love how you did the crust on top! And happy birthday to your husband.

    Comment by Jacqui — January 3, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  7. that pie is like perfect dana. wow. you’ve got mad skills darling. i hope hubby loved it.

    Comment by vanillasugarblog — January 3, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  8. My father turns 80 tomorrow! How he would love this! My sister and I were just chatting about what kind of cake to get him… and I said, but his favorite is pie! We should do a birthday pie! Sister says, no… has to be birthday CAKE. I’m sending her this post!
    Love the pie!!

    Comment by Lisa Faley — January 3, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  9. happy birthday Randy.. what an amazing tart. i love the 43 on it. yummy

    Comment by Cassie — January 3, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  10. Classy dessert! And so creative. If only I were that talented, my fiancé’s birthday in two weeks would be all the more special. I’ll probably just bake up an angel food (his favorite) or a cheesecake (second favorite).

    Cheers and happy New Year,


    Comment by heather — January 4, 2011 @ 2:14 am

  11. The chocolate and raspberry filling sounds so good, and the cut-out cookie top crust is the best. Good advice about preventing the cookies from getting soaked. Sounds like your husband will have a great birthday this year!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — January 4, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  12. My husband has been BEGGING me to make pie and I decided that 2011 will be the year when I finally conquer the beast. So I am making a list of 12 pie recipes – one to try each month. I was considering this very recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Raspberry-Linzer-Tart-929 but was hesitant because of the lackluster reviews. Your post convinced me to add it to my list!

    Happy birthday, Randy!

    Comment by Yannik — January 4, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  13. Love that linzer tart! Just the way I would make it too, not too heavy on spices and such and the idea to coat it in chocolate is great and love those playful cutouts!

    Comment by tasteofbeirut — January 4, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  14. Love Linzer Tart; what a great switch from regular birthday cake. Give Randy my happiest belated birthday wishes!!!

    Comment by Chez Us — January 11, 2011 @ 3:43 am

  15. Dude. Nice looking pie! Happy Birthday to Randy!

    Comment by Sage — January 11, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  16. Yum this sounds so good! I love that there’s chocolate in it. And the cut out numbers on top was a brilliant idea.

    Comment by Ashley — March 13, 2011 @ 12:17 am

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