In 1689, Austrian Valasavor published Die Ehre des Herzogtumes Krain. He wrote of skiers near Adriati using short (5-foot) skis to turn on steep slopes. This may well be the first time downhill skiing (rather than touring) was promulgated (more ski chronology here.)
Valasavor also may have savored Linzer Torte, the oldest known cake in the world. Named either for Linz, Austria or a Viennese baker named Linzer who created the cake, the recipe was found in the archives of a monastery in 1653.
The original recipe is based on almonds with red currant jelly. Now it’s commonly made with red raspberries in an crust of ground almonds and/or hazelnuts. The recipe survived no doubt because its delectable, and for calorie burning ski tourers, a tasty mix of protein and carbs.
After reading “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis (see link below), WildSnow HQ has been experimenting with wheat free eating. While our heavy diet of exercise for the most part compensates for the remarkably negative aspects of consuming wheat as detailed by Davis, we nonetheless were convinced that some of the wheat-free benefits he describes could improve our health and well being. Lou says that so far the results have been worth cutting down on his favorite tradition of morning pastry — but. To shore things up a bit on the home front, I baked a wheat free Linzer Torte, which was quite easy to do since the crust is mainly made of nuts.
Gluten Free Linzer Torte
1 1/2 cups almonds, or almond/hazelnut combo
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (i.e. Bob’s GF All Purpose Flour)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup or 10 ounces raspberry jam, you can vary the amount of jam depending on your level of sweet tooth (my favorite jam is Smuckers Low Sugar Red Raspberry)
Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly spray a 9-inch spring form pan (with removable bottom) with vegetable cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse the nuts until finely ground. Add the 1 cup of flour and the sugar, cinnamon and cloves and pulse to blend. Add the butter and egg yolk and pulse until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 1/3 and 2/3 balls and put in separate zip lock bags. Flatten a bit and refrigerate while you clean up the kitchen. After dough is chilled, use pie sleeve to roll out the larger ball and place in spring form. Press it into corners with 1/4 high rim. Spread the jam in the crust. Using pie sleeve, roll out the remaining dough 1/4 inch thick. Putting it in the freezer for 5 minutes will make it easier to cut and handle the strips for the lattice top. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the crust is deep brown and the jam is bubbling. If you can wait, the flavor of this torte is greatly enhanced if it is served a day after cooking.
Enjoy a slice on top of a peak and you’ll be the envy of everyone munching on sawdust energy bars. Back at the cabin, add a dollop of whipped cream.
If any of you are wondering if our famous tradition of European pastry skiing is in danger of extinction, don’t be alarmed. We are firm believers in NOT being picky and stressed about diet while traveling. When on the road or dining as guests at others’ homes we eat indigenously — though while away from home we do find ourselves making different food choices now that we’ve gotten out of the wheat habit.