My first Linzer tart tasting experience was back in the 1950’s at Lindy’s restaurant in NYC on Broadway & 51st street. The menu was German inspired and the baker was German. My grandfather Henry was from Hamburg and I’m proud to say I was inspired my many of his food eating habits. I can’t say I’m a big fan of German restaurants, however the baking skills that came out of Europe years ago in countries like Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy and France could not be beat.
Though Lindy’s was remembered for their famous cheesecake, I remember the incredible taste and texture of their linzer tarts and their chocolate covered jelly roll. Ever since then, linzer tarts should taste like those.
What exactly is a linzer tart? Here’s a little history:
Linzer Torte is a holiday classic in the Austrian, Hungarian, Swiss, German, and Tirolean traditions, often eaten at Christmas. Linzer Torte is often made like small tarts or cookies in North American bakeries.
Linzer sablés (German: Linzer Augen, “Linzer eyes”) are a cookie-sized version, made by cutting a circle of a similar dough, covering it with jam, placing a donut-like circle with a hole in the center piece of dough on top, and dusting with confectioner’s sugar.
Which brings to the Cieslak family who opened Cieslak’s Modern Bakery in Lindenhurst, LI. NY back in 1934.
I’m not totally clear on what “Modern” means in the name since all I see and feel here is tradition.
Whatever! There has to be something said for a family bakery that thrives for almost 80 years.
A quick aside…On my visit a few weeks ago to Joe’s Meat Market in Lindenhurst (See March 16, 2012 for original entry), I took my daughters Alison & Lindsay to experience Joe’s for lunch. The fresh sliced turkey sandwich with roasted peppers, lettuce, tomato, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar was, according to Alison, the “best turkey sandwich I’ve ever had”. Lindsay ordered a grilled chicken with fresh mozzarella sandwich and ordered one more to go. Al has a special way he prepares his grilled chicken and I cannot put the technique in this entry. You’ll just have to get their and order one and tell him Bert sent you in for it.
A week later, I’m back at Joe’s because wanted to bring what I felt was the best in comfort food to a shiva we were attending that evening and then asked Al where I could find some great baked goods…ie…where was a great bakery?
Without hesitation he said to go just down the block and ask for Joe to Cieslak’s Bakery.
In a coincidence, Joe came into Joe’s and in just a few minutes Cieslak’s Joe was very cordially giving me a tasting tour of tons of wonderful baked goods.
Joe @ Cieslak’s
Without having the luxury of visiting Cieslak’s but just this once, the only thing I can write about was what I took home myself and enjoyed the most. The standout’s for me were the Linzer tarts that met the Lindy’s taste criteria and the bear claw. I am most familiar with bear claws from the west coast…so to find a bear claw so enjoyable here on the east coast was a find.
I left with 9 dinners Al prepared for me and a selection of baked goods that we left for consumption.
Where did all that food and cake come from?
Al…and Joe…Eileen (Zach) and Grandma Cieslak…you now have more followers. Everyone knows where you are…”and in the end…the love you take is equal to the love you make” in the kitchen!