Spiced Pear Crumb Bars With Dulce de Leche

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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About the Author: Pope Lance