Pear Pie Crumble Bars are a great substitute for pie. 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.
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Best Pear Dessert
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.
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.
What are Pear Pie Crumble Bars?
These pear pie crumble bars are made up of three components:
- The Crust: It’s the same basic crust I use for most of my pie bars, including apple butter 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.
- 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 for this recipe, because I had some, but you can use grocery store pears.
- 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.
Ingredients in Pear Bars
Butter: You can use unsalted or salted butter (see recipe notes).
Flour: This is used in the topping and the crust. Be sure to use all-purpose flour.
Granulated Sugar: Used in all three components.
Almonds: Gives the crust and crumble a nice crunch!
Pears: Use perfectly ripe pears (not too soft). And just like I prepare apples we’re going to par-cook them so they’re the perfect texture inside the bars.
How to make Pie Bars with Pears
- Make the Crust: 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.
- Cook the 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.
- Make the Crumble: 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.
- Assemble: Drain the pears well, add them to the crust then sprinkle the crumble on top and bake until lightly golden. Cool completely before slicing.
Pear Desserts FAQ
These Pear Pie Crumble 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.
Use your favorite kind of pears but make sure they’re not over-ripe. You want them mostly firm with a little give.
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. 🙂
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Pear Pie Crumble Bars
For the Crust:
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter , softened
- 1 ¼ cups (155g) all purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
- 4 ½ cups diced pears (about 3-4 large pears or about 2 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Topping:
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (124g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Caramel sauce Homemade or jarred, for topping (optional)
- Line a 9×9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (for easy removal and cutting of bars). Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Cool completely in pan before slicing into bars and serving. Serve with caramel sauce and/or ice cream or whipped cream.
- Store bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to one month.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Pear Pie Crumble Bars are an easy pear dessert recipe! These pie bars have a crumble topping and perfectly cooked pears.
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: August 8, 2021