Back in 1977, Mollie Katzen revolutionized the meaning of vegetarian with her cookbook that's now celebrating its 40th anniversary: "The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition (click for details). Since then, she's made plant-based diets more palatable with a cornucopia of cookbooks, such as one of our personal favorites, "The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest."
Now Mollie has crafted a new cookbook that takes meatless magic of a new level of artistry: "The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation" (click to order). What's special about this book: You can make magnificent meals and snacks quickly and easily, and the range of options and flavors will delight everyone from a picky child to an curmudgeonly gourmet.
Recipe: Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pine Nut Crust
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 21/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Up to 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 21/2 to 3 pounds ripe pears, such as Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou (not Bosc or Asian, which are too grainy)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the pie crust, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Pour in the olive oil and run the machine in a few long pulses, until the oil is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and pulse a few more times, just until incorporated, then buzz in enough water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to bring the dough together.
Remove the dough from the food processor and gather it together, kneading it briefly into a ball and folding or poking in the pine nuts as you go. Break the dough into two uneven pieces, one about twice as big as the other. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten each into a thick disk.
Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the larger piece of dough into a 13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Carefully lift the circle, and ease it into an ungreased 10- to 11-inch tart pan with a removable rim, gently guiding it into the corners and letting it climb the sides. Patch any breaks or holes by pressing the dough back together (with a touch of water if needed) and trim the edges flush with the top of the rim.
Scrape clean and lightly reflour the work surface, then roll out the smaller piece of dough into a smaller circle 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into strips about 1/2 inch wide.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the lower third position, while you make the filling.
For the filling, peel and core the pears and cut them into very thin slices. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and maple syrup.
Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then sprinkle this onto the pears and toss to coat.
Place the fruit in the crust, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Arrange the strips of dough on top in a crisscross pattern, then push the ends of the strips onto the edges of the bottom crust to hold them in place. (Use dabs of water, as needed, to make them stick.)
Place the filled tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on the top and around the edges.
Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the rim of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Optional Enhancements: Serve with vanilla and/or salted caramel ice cream, vanilla or fruit-infused frozen yogurt. If you want to make this with walnuts instead of pine nuts, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the cornmeal and flour in the food processor.