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Spiced Pear Crumb Bars With Dulce de Leche

November 5, 2012

I feel like pears get a little overlooked this time of year. Everyone is all excited about apples and pumpkin and brussels sprouts (just me?), leaving pears to sit all lonely and forgotten in the corner.

Don’t worry, pears, I notice you.

For some reason, the idea of spiced pear bars popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. Since pears can be a somewhat delicate flavor, it seemed like a great way to pack lots of pear flavor into each bite. And what can I say, it’s just a spiced-everything time of year. (I’m currently working on eating my weight in cinnamon.)

While spiced pear bars with a crispy, buttery crumble on top sounded good, drowning them in a drizzle of dulce de leche sounded even better. Do you know how easy it is to make dulce de leche? The recipe has one ingredient, no joke. This becomes kind of a problem when you find out how delicious it is and want to pour it on everything, rationalizing that it’s fiiiiine because it’s so easy to make more!

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Spiced Pear Crumb Bars.

They’re fall-ish. They feed a crowd. They’re sweet, but not so sweet you couldn’t get away with eating them for breakfast, plain, with a cup of tea. Smothered in dulce de leche, they cross the line into sinful territory.

Don’t you think it’s time you stopped ignoring pears?

Spiced Pear Crumb Bars With Dulce de Leche

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
Serves a crowd (12-16)

Filling Ingredients

3 pounds (about 5 medium) pears, peeled and diced (I used Anjou)
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
dash of cloves

Crust Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 batch dulce de leche, for serving (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions

Make Ahead: Prepare dulce de leche according to David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche recipe. Store dulce de leche in refrigerator until ready to use, up to 2 weeks. Rewarm gently in microwave before using.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 13×9-inch pan with a double layer of foil, leaving 2 inches of overhang on each side. Spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, toss diced pears with lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugars, salt and spices (for filling). Add to pears and toss until pears are evenly coated. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and spiced. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate cold butter into the flour mixture. Cut butter into the dough using a pastry blender or your hands, until butter is mixed in but still has some chunks. Beat vanilla extract and egg together in a small bowl, then add to flour mixture. Blend with a sturdy spoon or your hands until a course, crumbly dough forms.

Add half of dough mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread pear mixture evenly over crust. Press the remaining dough into a ball, the break apart with your fingers to form large crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over pear layer.

Bake uncovered at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until top has browned. Cool completely on a wire wrack. Use foil overhang to lift bars from pan. Use a pizza cutter to easily cut into bars. Serve warmed or at room temperature. Drizzle with dulce de leche just before serving.

Can be stored loosely covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. (Longer than that, they start to get soggy.)

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18 Comments
  1. November 5, 2012 11:18 am

    WOW! They looks amazing! Now this bars wont go away from my head ;)

  2. November 5, 2012 1:02 pm

    Those sound so naughty… so I want one.

  3. The Economic Vegetarian permalink
    November 5, 2012 2:51 pm

    Great recipe. I have a ton of pears leftover from a local urban harvest and I needed some ideas as how to use them. Can’t wait to try this out :)

  4. November 5, 2012 3:14 pm

    This looks incredible! Ohhh my goodness, I definitely see myself trying these in the near future! :)

  5. November 5, 2012 5:31 pm

    YUMMERS!!!

  6. November 5, 2012 5:40 pm

    Now I feel kind of guilty that I don’t like pears. Poor pears.

    But I do love dulce de leche! And that crumb topping looks awesome.

  7. November 5, 2012 7:09 pm

    Looks incredible!

  8. November 6, 2012 5:55 am

    I’m with you on the brussel sprout love ;)

  9. November 6, 2012 4:56 pm

    I love baking with pears. They’re so underappreciated. These look wonderful, especially with that dulce de leche!

  10. November 6, 2012 5:37 pm

    These look great! I’ve never thought to put pears and dulce de leche together but that sounds like a really good flavor combo.

    P.S. I made your apple crumb cake this weekend and it was SO GOOD.

  11. Kait permalink
    November 6, 2012 6:43 pm

    These look to die for!

  12. petit4chocolatier permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:50 pm

    I love these! The filling is over the top delicious!

  13. November 8, 2012 4:22 pm

    what beautiful photos! Can’t wait to try this!

  14. November 8, 2012 4:57 pm

    I love pears too and definitely think they get overlooked! I love these bars too and can’t wait to try them!

  15. November 11, 2012 3:24 am

    Whoa, that dulce de leche action shot is positively mouth-watering. Also this is a great idea for a recipe! I love fall desserts with pears…

  16. December 9, 2012 5:40 am

    Very Scrumptious. Would love to try this myself – thank you for sharing.

  17. December 13, 2012 2:24 pm

    These are making me swoon…dulche de leche dripping onto the pears…heaven!

  18. January 14, 2013 11:35 am

    love this! nominating you for a Versatile Blogger Award for you good work:)

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