The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe – Cookbook Review with Pear Tart Recipe

The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe by Mark Reinfeld

Mark Reinfeld’s latest cookbook gives familiar classic European dishes a vegan makeover. The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe offers 150 delicious recipes.

The latest in the series of 30 Minute Vegan cookbooks, Taste of Europe takes the home cook on a culinary tour of Europe. Different chapters cover the classics of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, United Kingdom and Ireland, Greece, and Germany. Another chapter includes recipes from the rest of Europe, such as Polish kielbasa soup, Hungarian goulash, or Icelandic red cabbage.

Most of the recipes are easy and can be completed by a beginning cook. All the recipes are either gluten-free or contain a recommendation on how to adapt the recipe to be gluten-free. For those limiting processed oils in their diets, the author includes a water saute technique.

A chapter at the beginning covers the basics of wine and beer pairing. Many of the recipes include specific beverage recommendations.

Raw Pear Tart with Cashew Cream and Fresh Berries

Makes one 9-inch tart

1 cup finely chopped pitted dates (try Medjool)
1 ¼ cups chopped pecans
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cardamom

Cashew Cream
1 cup raw cashews
½ to ¾ cup water
2 tablespoons agave nectar, coconut nectar (see page 261), or pure maple syrup, to taste
Pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave or coconut nectar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg, or ground cardamom, or allspice
2 large ripe pears, sliced into ½-inch strips
1 pint fresh berries, rinsed and drained well
Mint leaves

Place the cashews in a small bowl with 2 cups of water. Prepare the  topping: Place the lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a  large shallow dish and mix well. Add the sliced pears and gently coat well.

Prepare the crust: Oil a 9-inch tart pan. Place the pecans in a food  processor and process until finely ground. Add the dates, cinnamon,  and cardamom and pulse-process until the ingredients are just ground  up. Do not over-process or your crust will be too gummy.

Transfer to the tart pan and press down firmly to create the crust. The  mixture should be holding together. If not, return to the processor and  process a bit further. Depending upon the moisture of the dates, you  may need to add a small amount of water or liquid from the topping to help hold the crust together.

Prepare the cashew cream: Drain and rinse the cashews well. Place them in a strong blender along with the ½ to ¾ cup of water and agave  nectar. Blend until creamy. The amount of water you will need will depend on the strength of your blender.

Spread an even layer of the cream over the crust. Creatively place the pear slices on top of the cream. Try forming a spiral where each pear slice  slightly overlaps the one next to it.

Decorate with fresh berries and mint leaves. If you have more time, chill for 15 minutes or more before serving.

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