Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. If making balls of stuffing, lightly grease two baking sheets; if baking in one piece, grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
Spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until crisp. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter or heat the oil over medium to low heat. Add the onions, leek, celery, and pear and sauté for about 15 minutes until softened and golden.
Mix in the toasted bread cubes, herbs, and pine nuts, and season with black pepper and sea salt to taste. Stir in the vegetable stock and the beaten egg, if using, and leave for 10 minutes to thoroughly soak in.
If making stuffing balls, scoop up 1 tablespoon of stuffing at a time, then mold it into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Or, if baking in one piece, simply press the stuffing mix gently into the prepared baking dish.
Bake the stuffing for 25–30 minutes (25 minutes for balls and 30 minutes if baking in one piece) until crisp and golden on the outside, but still soft on the inside.
Reprinted with permission from At My Table published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Text and photography © 2015 by Mary McCartney