Onion Tart

Oh, wonderfully delicious onion tart! The first time we remember being blown away by one was at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival more than a decade ago. The France kiosk had a version that was perfectly caramelized with a crisp yet light crust — it impressed us so much that we looked through a bunch of cookbooks that afternoon hoping to find a recipe that seemed similar so we could try to make one at home. We purchased a couple of books & tried them when we returned but they weren’t quite the same as the deliciousness we had that day at the park.

Over the years, Mr. The Inspired Parent has tried different versions — he’s nailed it with one that is now a family favorite.

Alsatian Onion Tart | theinspiredparent.com

The crust in our version has a bit of corn meal in it, making it a more savory-style crust. We find that this not only adds a great little crispy quality but the flavor pairs perfectly with the onion mixture. Don’t rush cooking the onions — low & slow is the key to increasing the flavor of the onions, softening them nearly to the point of caramelization though you’ll back off on the heat before getting to that point.

As long as you keep an eye on the onions so they don’t brown, this is a simple recipe and quite an impressive one that your friends & family will love!

Happy Cooking!

Onion Tart

One 9-inch tart (8 slices)

Ingredients

    For the Crust:
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 3 TBSP. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 TBSP. ice water
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. white onion, finely chopped or very thinly sliced
  • 3 TBSP. butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt plus a heavy pinch
  • 1/4 c. Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese, shredded

Instructions

    To Prep the Crust:
  1. Pulse all dry ingredients in the food processor 'til combined.
  2. Cut the butter into 1/4 inch pieces then add to the food processor. Pulse 'til the consistency of cornmeal.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks & water together in a small bowl then add to the food processor and pulse 'til the dough gets sticky enough that you can form it by hand.
  4. Portion the dough in half. Form each half into a round disk, approximately 1-inch thick. Wrap each disk very well with plastic wrap & refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, but up to two days if you'd like to make it ahead of time. NOTE: The onion tart recipe only requires one disk of dough - if you would like to make two tarts, be sure to double the filling recipe.
  5. Finish the Crust & Bake the Tart:
  6. When ready to bake the crust & make the tart, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. On a floured surface, roll out one disk of dough so it will fit a 9-inch tart pan. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork all over (approximately 12 times in total). Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  8. Put parchment on the bottom of the crust and bake in the oven with pie weights for 12 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and bake for 5 more minutes. You are only partially baking the crust so it won't look completely done. Remove from the oven.
  9. Start the tart filling by heating a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter & once melted add the onions and a heavy pinch of salt. Stir to combine & lower the heat. Keeping the heat on low, cook 'til the onions are very soft & nearly caramelized (though not browned) for at least 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pan. Stir frequently.
  10. Remove the onions from the heat and let cool in the pan 'til room temperature.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, cream, pepper and nutmeg together. Set aside.
  12. Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with the cheese. Add the egg mixture to the cooled onions and stir together to combine. Pour the filling into the crust over the cheese.
  13. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes or until set.

Notes

REMINDER: As noted in the instructions, the onion tart recipe only requires one disk of dough - if you would like to make two tarts, be sure to double the filling recipe.

TO STORE: If you have leftovers, cover with foil & refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a low oven (275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes or until warm.

http://www.theinspiredparent.com/onion-tart/

 

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Lebkuchen

Honey, citrus, spices, oh my! These tasty gingerbread-style cookies are a family favorite of ours and are one of the staples on our gorgeous holiday cookie trays that Mr. The Inspired Parent makes each year.

Depending on which historical reference you read, Lebkuchen or “honey cake,” was likely invented by Franconian monks. It is documented as making an appearance around the 13th century in what is now Germany. There are varieties that are more sweet or more spicy — this version is well-balanced & great with a cup of coffee or tea.

Lebkuchen | theinspiredparent.com

Lebkuchen hold up ridiculously well if kept in an airtight container — we bake these a week or more before our holiday gatherings. Not only is it super convenient since they can be made so far in advance, but the flavor just gets better and better as a few days go by. They’re still quite good warm out of the oven or after cooling, but by days 3-5 (or later!), the spices intensify a bit, adding to the cookie’s complexity & making these the perfect bake-ahead treat for your upcoming gatherings!

Happy Baking!

Lebkuchen

Approx. 40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 c. dark, runny honey
  • 2/3 c. (4.5 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 TBSP. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 5 1/2 TBSP. (2.5 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. candied lemon peel
  • 1 oz. candied orange peel
  • 1 oz. almonds
  • 4 1/2 oz. hazelnuts
  • 3 large eggs (2 for the dough, 1 for the egg wash)
  • 4 c. (17.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 TBSP. water

Instructions

  1. In a pan over medium heat, mix the honey and sugar, stirring constantly until it comes to a gentle boil and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the gloves, cinnamon and allspice. Stir to combine and then set aside.
  2. In a different pan, melt the butter then set aside to cool. Very finely chop the candied lemon and orange peels with a very sharp knife. Then repeat with the almonds and hazelnuts. If you prefer, you can finely chop these four ingredients using a food processor - this is how we make it - just be careful not to over-process.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk 2 of the 3 eggs 'til frothy (3rd egg will be used the next day). In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and then add the melted butter, chopped lemon & orange peel, chopped nuts, the beaten eggs and dissolved baking soda. Mix with a strong rubber spatula or wooden spoon 'til all ingredients are combined.
  4. Using your hands, shape the dough into a flat disc. Place the disc on a plate or in a small bowl and wrap well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Roll your dough to a 1/4-inch thick and use a 2-inch cookie cutter. Round is traditional, but we like to use a scalloped edge. Place the cookies on the lined cookie sheet. Whisk the remaining egg & and lightly brush the top of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack in your oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Store in airtight containers for up to four weeks or in your freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

Adapted from a wonderful cookbook: The Viennese Kitchen, Tante Hertha's Book of Family Recipes by Monica Meehan & Maria von Baich (2011).

http://www.theinspiredparent.com/lebkuchen/

 

 

 

 

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Biscochitos: a Spanish Spice Cookie

If you’re looking for a lightly-spiced yet super flavorful cookie, these lovely Biscochitos hit the mark!

Biscochitos | theinspiredparent.com

With origins in Spain, Biscochitos are quite popular in New Mexico where it is said that they are the “official” state cookie. With a great texture & lovely anise flavor combined with orange & a hint of cinnamon, these are a delightful addition to any holiday cookie tray or perfect for your next brunch.

We used star-shaped cookie cutters this time around but we’ve seen these in all different shapes including one of our favorites — the classic fleur-de-lis.

Happy Baking!

Biscochitos: a Spanish Spice Cookie

Approximately 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sugar, plus 1/4 c. for sprinkling
  • 1 1/4 c. lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP. orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or triple sec
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 2 TBSP. water
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening/lard with 1 cup of sugar on medium 'til light and fluffy - approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, liqueur and zest & beat to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Gradually add the dry ingredient to the sugar mixture on low speed. While still on low, add the anise seeds.
  3. Increase the mixer to medium speed and gradually add the water, mixing until the dough forms into a ball. Add additional water, if necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap & refrigerate for 40 minutes if you used shortening and 30 minutes if you used lard. The dough tends to be on the soft side.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the center of the oven.
  5. Combine the cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured working surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with a 3-4 inch cookie cutter. Lightly sift the cinnamon/sugar mixture over each cookie. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the cookies in the freezer until the dough is quite firm, approximately 15-20 minutes. Bake the cookies one baking sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, turning the tray half way through baking. The cookies will be set but should not be brown. Transfer the cookies to wire cooling rack.
  7. To store the cookies, place them in an air-tight container between layers of parchment paper for up to one week.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies: The very best treats to bake and to share (2008).

http://www.theinspiredparent.com/biscochitos-a-spanish-spice-cookie/

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Rum Balls

These Rum Balls are wonderfully dangerous. They may very well be my favorite holiday treat…or at least in the top three. They’re super simple — you’re basically making a batch of brownies, spiking them with rum & coating them with decorative sanding sugar or sweetened coconut. Best part is they store extremely well for 7-9 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator so you can easily make them ahead of time to have on hand as you finish preparing your other cookies or holiday treats.

Where they become dangerous is that it’s oh-so-simple to just grab one here or there when they call your name as you open the refrigerator door. Hopefully by the time your holiday party rolls around there will still be a few left for your cookie tray!

Happy Baking!

Rum Balls | theinspiredparent.com

Rum Balls

4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • coarse sanding sugar (or unsweetened shredded coconut), for rolling
  • vegetable oil spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heat-safe bowl held over a pot of simmering water, occasionally stirring.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt together. Gently mix in the melted butter & chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour, a little at a time to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking sheet & spread evenly. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the top is still shiny & a toothpick inserted to the center still has some crumbs on it when you remove it. Remove the tray & let fully cool on a wire rack.
  5. Once cooled, break the brownies up into small pieces. Place the pieces into the bowl of an electric mixer & use the paddle attachment. While the mixer is on low, add the rum and mix until the pieces/crumbs come back together into a ball.
  6. Using your hands, take pieces of the dough and shape them into 1-inch balls. Roll in the sanding sugar or coconut to coat them. Place the finished balls on a clean baking sheet and refrigerate (uncovered) until very cold - approximately 2-3 hours.
  7. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 7 to 9 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from our well-loved cookbook, Martha Stewart's Cookies: The very best treats to bake and to share (2008).

http://www.theinspiredparent.com/rum-balls/

Oh so yummy!

Oh so yummy!

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