Disclaimer: This recipe is not exactly diet-friendly. Sorry. But not really because these bars taste pretty fantastic.
Anyways. I really love pear season. Growing up, this time of year meant we got to eat lots of pears. Any pears are great, but my absolute favorite are the Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David. If you’ve never had them, you MUST get some this year (*cough* Berney *cough*). It was tradition for my family to get a box (or 2 or 3…) each season, and they always disappeared too quickly! My dad actually shipped me 2 giant boxes of those glorious pears last Christmas.
They’re grown in my home state of Oregon (therefore, they automatically rock) and they are the juiciest, most flavor pears you will ever eat. Yes, they’re a little on the spendy side, but after one bite you won’t even care. When I moved to Southern Cali a few years ago, I discovered that a local market actually shipped in those exact same pears down here to sell in their store. Except they sell them for a ridiculously low price! JACKPOT. So now that they’re in season, I made a special trip last week just to get those AMAZINGLY FABULOUS (and amazingly cheap) pears. And then I made these bars. Literally so much yum.
It may look as though the directions for this recipe are a bit lengthy. Don’t be overwhelmed! I made them in less than 2 hours while watching tv shows. The directions seem like a lot, but you need to keep in mind that you a basically making 3 mini recipes for this 1 total recipe. So a few extra EASY directions are needed.
Even though I jabbered on about the wonders of the pears I used, you can really use whatever type of pear you like best (or is cheapest). I prefer a sweeter, juicier pear. You’re going to be cooking them down and sweetening them with a little sugar though, so any ripe, yummy pear will work.
As I mentioned at the beginning, these bars aren’t exact for low-cal diets. Just don’t eat the entire pan at one time and you’ll be fine. Or just ignore the nutrition info at the bottom of the recipe. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance tastes delicious.
- 1/2 cup vegan shortening (or butter)
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups pears, diced and peeled
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice (or ground cinnamon)
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Extra cinnamon for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9” baking pan with tin foil, leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan.
- Prepare the crust. In a food processor, add all the crust ingredients and pulse until combined. The mixture will be very crumbly, but should hold together when pressed between your fingers. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the diced pears, sugar and apple pie spice (or cinnamon) in a large sauce pan (I used a deep skillet with a lid). Add enough water to the pan so at least half of the pears are covered. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the pears start to look semi-translucent.
- Once the pears are cooked, spoon out about 1 cup of the liquid; save 1/2 cup of this liquid, discard the rest. Stir the 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch into the reserved 1/2 cup of liquid until completely dissolved. Pour into the cooking pears, while stirring constantly, and continue to stir until the pear mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.
- Place a mesh sieve over a bowl, and then pour the pears into the sieve and gently stir to remove any extra liquid that did not thicken. The pear mixture will look similar to thick applesauce at this point; most of the larger diced pieces will have softened and cooked down. Allow the pear filling to cool slightly while you prepare the topping.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, almonds, cinnamon and salt, and then mix on low speed until well-combined. The mixture will somewhat resemble a dry cookie dough.
- Next, assemble the layers. Spread the pear filling evenly over the baked crust. Then use your fingers to crumble the topping over the filling. Finally, top with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Bake at 350°F for 23-28 minutes (mine took 26 minutes) or until the pears are bubbly and the crumble topping is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
- Serve with (vegan) whipped cream or (vegan) ice cream for an even more delicious experience.
- Pear bars can be covered tightly and kept in the fridge for several days.
- One 9x9" pan
- (per 1 bar - 1/9 of pan)
- Calories: 451
- Fat: 28g
- Sodium: 303mg
- Carbohydrates: 43g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugar: 19g
- Protein: 7g