Today’s pie is a Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pine Nut Crust, and it comes to us from Mollie Katzen, author of the landmark Moosewood Cookbook and the new The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation.
(No pie crust with lard in it here.)
Read below for the recipe, and click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 7th at LACMA.
Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pine Nut Crust
(From Mollie Katzen’s The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation)
Baking lemon-laced pears in a sturdy, slightly crunchy cornmeal–pine nut crust, crowned with a beautiful lattice top, might well become your new tradition. The loving care you invest in this preparation will reward you with a tart that will feed many and can freeze and defrost seamlessly— so you can feed many at a later time.
This freezes well for up to 3 weeks, if wrapped very tightly. Defrost completely before serving.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
¾ cup fine cornmeal
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
Up to 1⁄3 cup water
1⁄3 cup pine nuts
1. 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.
2. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather it together, kneading it briefly into a ball and folding/poking in the pine nuts as you go. Break the dough into 2 uneven pieces, one about twice as big as the other. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten each into a thick disk.
3. 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 un-greased 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.
4. Scrape clean and lightly re-flour 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.
5. Preheat the oven to 375F, with a rack in the lower third position, while you make the filling.
2½–3 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
1. Peel and core the pears and cut them into thin slices. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice and maple syrup.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then sprinkle this onto the pears and toss to coat.
3. 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.)
4. Place the filled tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on the top and around the edges.
5. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the rim of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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 ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the cornmeal and flour in the food processor in step 1.