Spiced Pear Crumble Bars




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Spiced pear crumble bars 3

Spiced Pear Crumble Bars are a delicately spiced shortbread bar filled with fresh juicy pears.  Enjoy this easy fall dessert any time of the day.

A spiced pear crumble bar with fresh pear and fork

I’ve had the most beautiful pears sitting on the counter for almost a week now waiting for me to decide what to do with them.   Mine are an heirloom variety, but I don’t remember the name, all I can tell you that they are the kind that are meant to be crunchy, even when they’re fully ripe, and that makes them perfect for baking.  Chances are you’ve got some pretty nice pears, too, they’re at the height of their season right now.   The varieties can be confusing so I usually just choose the ones that appeal to me, and for this recipe, the  hard ones are ok.  Think of them as apples…they will cook up in the oven to the perfect consistency.  If you have soft pears, they’ll cook up to a jammy filling, so either way is great.

Fresh pears for Spiced Pear Crumble Bars

There are some spectacular pear desserts out there on Pinterest, pears just seem to lend themselves to dramatic treatment, but you can usually count on me to choose the simpler path.  The fancy pear cakes and tarts are spectacular for a special occasion, but this one is for everyday.  Even if I’m busy or tired it’s hardly any effort at all to pull together the easy dough and peel and slice the pears.

A spiced Pear Crumble Bar on a wooden surface

So often I go with bold  flavors in my recipes, but this one is soft and retiring… I played with gingerbread spices in the dough, but toned them down a bit so they don’t overpower the delicate fruit.  I’m obsessed with the combination of gingerbread and pear, and I even made a molasses glaze for these bars which was fantastic.  You have the option to use it or not.

Closeup of a Spiced Pear Crumble Bar

One  surprise is that pears, and quince, too, both fall fruits, sometimes turn a little  pink as they cook.  There’s a chemical in them that’s related to the one responsible for fruit browning when it’s cut, and it causes that blush tinge when the fruit is heated.  I think it’s so pretty.

A spiced pear crumble bar with molasses drizzle

Drizzle the bars with the molasses glaze, or not, it’s good both ways.

Spiced pear crumble bars

Spiced Pear Crumble Bars
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Spiced pear crumble bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 good sized pears
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
    molasses glaze
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • molasses
  • cream or milk

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt, vanilla, and spices.
  3. Gradually add in the flour and mix just until it is combined, it will be crumbly.
  4. Take about 2/3 of the dough and press it into the bottom of a 9x9 square baking pan. I like to line the pan with parchment paper with long ends so that I can lift it out after it cools...it makes cutting easier and prettier, but this is optional. Try to cover the whole bottom surface, using your hands to lightly pat the dough down.
  5. Peel and slice your pears. Slice them quite thin if they are crisp, and if they are soft you can slice them thicker. Toss the pears with the cornstarch and lemon juice, make sure to get them all coated.
  6. Put the pears in the pan on top of the layer of dough. Top with the rest of the dough, dropping it in crumbles across the pears. Don't worry if the fruit shows through the crumbles, that's fine.
  7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the top is starting to turn light brown around the edges and you can hear the fruit bubbling.
  8. Let cool before drizzling with the glaze.
  9. To make the glaze, add a little molasses into the sugar and stir to combine. Add enough so it becomes a thick mass. Then stream in a little milk or cream to thin it to a drizzling consistency.

 

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16 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Annette Matthews
    September 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

    I don’t usually do this…but some of the batter got on my hands while I was beating in the spices. I scraped off as much as I could, but some had to be licked off – since there was no raw egg in the dough! OMG, it was so delicious!! I can’t wait to taste the real thing once it comes out of the oven and cools. (I baked mine in a springform pan because my 9×9 was occupied!) My kitchen smells amazing. I have a friend with two pears trees and I am definitely asking for more pears.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2018 at 11:27 am

      That’s the joy of shortbread batter, lick away!! I’m glad you’re enjoying this recipe Annette :)

  • Reply
    Nancy Long
    January 5, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Just received some Harry & David pears (they have the best pears ever) from my BFF and now know how I’m going to use some.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 5, 2016 at 8:27 am

      We always get those pears, and while I love to eat them as is, I also always have some leftover… this recipe is perfect for that dilemma :)

  • Reply
    Melissa
    December 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Just made a batch of these for Christmas giving. I used three pears in various stages of ripeness and didn’t bother to peel them. These are very tasty and so easy to make. I typically don’t like molasses very often, but the light use in the glaze was just perfect. The spices were great and I love that there isn’t cinnamon in it. I feel that cinnamon gets thrown into everything. My suggestion to anyone making these is don’t be afraid to use very firm pears. The pears that were very ripe in my batch are very, very soft. I think I’ll try this with apple sometime as well. This is my second favorite recipe after the amazing Cranberry Bars! Those just came out of the oven.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

      What a fabulous comment, thanks so much Melissa! That’s a great point about the firm pears, and I agree about cinnamon being over-used. Have a wonderful holiday!

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

    These would be gone in a heartbeat here. So pretty and just as delicious!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's+Recipes
    October 12, 2014 at 6:50 am

    The best coffee cake ever! Pears are my husband’s favoruite and we both are crazy for the buttery crumbly topping…this is just perfect, Sue.

  • Reply
    Carol+at+Wild+Goose+Tea
    October 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Pears are an underused fruit, but probably because they aren’t plentifully available year round. So I am delighted to see this—-in simple form—Ha. Simple has zip to do with how they are to pop into your mouth. What a inspired idea to have the molasses in the drizzle.

  • Reply
    denise@magnoliaverandad
    October 11, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I love pears they are so different to apples but a little richer in flavour but the same if that makes sense? Pears are so cheap here at the moment (even though it is spring) that I just want to cook with them. This is a lovely gentle recipe perfect to pop in the mouth any time of the day. And it is true that little pink touch is so perfect.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 11, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Thanks Denise!

  • Reply
    Kiran+@+KiranTarun.com
    October 10, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Lovely flavors here. So autumny :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    October 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Pears are one of my personal favorites! I always love pear desserts and am sure I would love these too. You are the bar queen! (Don’t take that the wrong way – I don’t know if you actually hang out in bars … just saying!) Have a wonderful weekend Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I don’t know, either way sounds good to me :)

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    October 10, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I adore crumble bars, these look scrumptious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Laura! I feel like I post a lot of them…but I can’t resist ;)