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Nov 06

Pear Pie Crumble Bars

As much as I love pie, I almost love pie bars even more. They’re portable, easier to cut, and the crust : filling ratio is weighted in the crust’s favor.

Add some pears to that ratio and you’ve got one heck of a crumble bar.

Pear Pie Crumble Bars are the perfect pie bar recipe, made with a shortbread crust, and almond crumble topping, and filled with sweet pears! They're perfect topped with caramel sauce!

You know that saying, “I just flew in from <insert city> and boy are my arms tired!”? Well, I just flew in from Nashville and boy, is all of me tired. Between the two-hour time difference from the Music City to Sacramento, the late nights and early mornings, and the time change? I’m pretty much wrecked.

But I’m still here, writing some posts for you. Geesh, the things I do for y’all!! {Kidding.}

In all actuality I’m forcing myself to write this post half jet-lagged, half food-coma’d, and half-asleep because, well. On Monday both my Monday and Wednesday posts posted at the same time and nothing has happened around here since then.

{Did you notice that mistake? Pecan Pie and Slow Cooker Monkey Bread all in the same day!!}

As I work myself out of my Pillsbury Bake-Off food coma (details coming soon!), I’m drooling over these Pear Pie Crumble Bars. You guys, I had no idea how they would turn out when I made them and they ended up one of the best recipes I’d ever made.

These are get-them-out-of-the-house-right-now bars. They’re coffee-grounds-on-top-of-the-garbage bars. They’re bars you need.

Pear Pie Crumble Bars are the perfect pie bar recipe, made with a shortbread crust, and almond crumble topping, and filled with sweet pears! They're perfect topped with caramel sauce!

When I was a kid, we ate pears from the can almost weekly. They were my favorite fruit, I think. I also remember begging my mom to let me drink Kern’s Pear Nectar in lieu of vegetables with dinner. She often said yes.

{She’s a way nicer mom than I am, that’s for sure!}

I never ate pears in anything, like pie, until college. And I have to admit: when I had my first slice of pear pie one year I was not impressed. You know how I hate apples that aren’t soft in pie? Those pears in that pie…ugh. I can still remember how I almost couldn’t swallow them. I think, because of that pie, I didn’t eat pears for years.

Gah. Another thing I was totally missing out on. Because when it’s made right? Pear pie (or pear pie bars) is thebombdotcom.

Pear Pie Crumble Bars are the perfect pie bar recipe, made with a shortbread crust, and almond crumble topping, and filled with sweet pears! They're perfect topped with caramel sauce!

These pear pie crumble bars are made up of three components.

First, the crust. It’s the same basic crust I use for most of my pie bars, including apple butter pie bars and my pumpkin pie bars. It’s a shortbread crust, made with butter, flour, and granulated sugar. For this recipe, I added almonds. Almonds and pears go together like PB&J. The crust is crumbly when you make it, and you can use a stand or a hand mixer for the recipe. When you press all the crumbles together in a pan it creates a nice thick shortbread crust.

Second, the crumble topping. Again, it’s a similar recipe that I use for all my crumbles, like my blueberry slab pie or almond chocolate cherry pie bars. More butter, more sugar, and more almonds create a crunchy crumbly top you’ll love.

I made this recipe in a 9×9″ pan instead of a 9×13″ pan and I think that was the best idea I’ve had yet. The smaller pan increases the crust : crumble : filling ratio. I always want more of the first two, less of the third. 🙂

And, of course, the final layer in these bars: the pears. Get good pears that you love. All pears differ in size, so pay attention to the pounds I list in the recipe. I used Harry & David pears because they’re some of the best ones I’ve ever had. Have you ever tried them? They grow most of their pears in Oregon in the Rogue River Valley. It’s gorgeous there and the weather is perfect for pears.

{If you’ve never tried Harry & David pears, you’re in luck. I’m giving some away down below the recipe!}

Harry & David Pears

In order to combat the issues of too-crunchy pears in the bars, I partially cooked the pears before adding them to the crust. I cooked them like I cook my apples for pie: I boiled them in a little water until they just started turning translucent. Then drain them well (a few times; as they cool more liquid will release), stir them up with some cinnamon and sugar, and sandwich them between crust and crumble. The pears finish cooking in the oven for the perfect texture – not too soft and not crunchy. They’re just right.

These bars remind me a lot of apple pie, but the flavor is distinctly pear. You can serve them with ice cream or whipped cream. You can eat them by themselves. But if I were you, I’d douse them in caramel sauce. Because caramel sauce (homemade or store bought) is goooooood.

Pear Pie Crumble Bars are the perfect pie bar recipe, made with a shortbread crust, and almond crumble topping, and filled with sweet pears! They're perfect topped with caramel sauce!

Make these for Thanksgiving. I promise you’ll love them!!

Pear Pie Crumble Bars

Yield: 16 bars

These bars are a perfect way to use your pears! A shortbread almond crust is filled with partially cooked cinnamon sugar pears and topped with an almond crumble. Serve these with caramel sauce for a decadent twist on a crumble pie bar!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 4 1/2 cups diced pears (about 3-4 large pears or about 2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Caramel sauce (Homemade or jarred), for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a 9×9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (for easy removal and cutting of bars). Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare the crust by slowly mixing all the crust ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using hand mixer. The mixture will be crumbly and if you are using a hand mixer you may need to use your hands to break up any large chunks of butter. Press the crust in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the filling by placing the diced pears in a medium saucepan. Fill the pan with water so that half the pears are covered. Cook over medium heat, bringing to a boil then simmering for about 5 minutes until the pears just start to turn semi-translucent. Drain well.
  4. Make the topping while the pears are cooking: you can use the same bowl you used for the crust. Use a stand or a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour, almonds, and salt and mix slowly. The mixture will be somewhat crumbly.
  5. Right before the crust comes out of the oven, drain the pears again, then sprinkle the pears with the cinnamon and sugar called for in the filling.
  6. Remove the hot crust from the oven. Sprinkle the pears carefully on top (make sure they are well drained first – do not add any of the extra liquid!), then sprinkle with the topping. Bake for an additional 22-27 minutes until the crumble topping starts to brown. (Mine took 24 minutes.)
  7. Cool completely in pan before slicing into bars and serving. Serve with caramel sauce and/or ice cream or whipped cream.
  8. Store bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to one month.

Adapted from Apple Butter Pie Bars.

Want to try some Harry & David pears for yourself?? Enter to win some now! Harry & David and I are giving away some Royal Riviera® Pears, 1 box of beautiful pears ($29.95 value). You’re going to love them, I promise you. Harry & David pears are non-GMO and mostly grown right on their farms in Southern Oregon. I’ve been there, it’s gorgeous, and the company feels like one big family.

Open to U.S. residents only. You must be 18 years or older to enter and win. Giveaway runs through November 13, 2014. The rafflecoter entry form is below this paragraph. (If you cannot see it after a few moments, click here to enter.) Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mini Crumb Apple Pies

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Apple Butter Pie Bars

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Sweets from friends:
Blackberry Crumb Pie by Something Swanky
Blueberry Pie Bars by Averie Cooks
Clean Peach Crumble by Amy’s Healthy Baking

I was not sponsored for this post, but Harry & David sent me pears as a thank you for doing a giveaway for them. No one says no to pears: especially H&D ones! 🙂 This post contains affiliate links.