Swiss heritage, baked right in

Alpen Torte’s raspberry linzer torte

This time of year, those of us with roots in places far from here go in search of the baked treats our grandmothers used to make.

For me, it’s the Mediterranean specialty baklava. For Boulder resident Carol Schwendener, the sweet that beckons is Swiss linzer torte.

Ms. Schwendener has turned her nostalgia into a burgeoning home baking business, Alpen Tortes. She makes her exquisite raspberry linzer tortes by hand, one by one, and sells them near and far through her web site alpentortes.com.

It doesn’t get any closer to the old country than this. Ms. Schwendener learned to bake during childhood summers at her grandmother Klara’s home in Switzerland, watching as the master home baker put just-so touches on Swiss classics like Engadiner nusstorte, birnbrot and carrot cake.

But Ms. Schwendener was taken most by her grandmother’s tantalizing linzer torte, which was as wonderful to look at as it was to eat.

The melt-in-your-mouth shortbread creation includes a deep brown almond crust, filled with not-too-sweet red raspberry jam. Artfully presented and sprinkled with sugar, Ms. Schwendener’s lattice-topped linzer tortes are a visual masterpiece.

The months-old Alpen Tortes company is possible because Colorado passed the Cottage Foods Act in 2012, allowing for small-scale sales of certain foods made in home kitchens. The movement is growing.

Of course it is. No mass produced linzer torte could rouse the charm, nostalgia and luscious appeal that these do. Alpen Tortes make the perfect special dessert or hostess gift for the holidays. Get your orders in quickly. Ms. Schwendener can and does ship her tortes just about anywhere, but Boulder Valley locals can order online and arrange to pick up at right at her home.

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