Pears are a funny little fruit. They are kind of like an apple, but not quite. They are crunchy and sweet, but sometimes mushy and tart. After we went to the orchard and picked pears, I had about 40 pears sitting in a bowl staring at me. What in the world to do with all of those pears?? I made a crumble and used a whopping three pears in that recipe. Google to the rescue.
I did a Google search for pear desserts and found some interesting ideas. Poached pears, pears with blue cheese—gag, pear tarts, pears and raisins…pears, pears everywhere. This recipe was at the top of the Google search and sounded like a winner.
While this recipe was delish and prefect for fall, it was a total pain in the arse to make. It says in the recipe that the prep time is 20 minutes—uuuhhh, yeah. More like 2 hours. In the end, it was totally worth it, it was just a very involved recipe.
The first thing I did was get going on the 10 cups of pears. That’s right—peel, seed and chop ten cups of pears. That is a whole lotta pear. For the riper pears, I used a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. I cut out the fiberous stem and chopped all of the pears into as even a dice as I could. I tossed them with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.
The crust was easy enough to put together. Eggs and lemon juice were whisked together. Cold butter was cut into the flour and sugar mix. The eggs were added to the flour mix and stirred with a fork—I just used my hands to mix it until it was crumbly and all the flour was incorporated. The crust was pressed into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and par baked before it got topped with all of the pear goodness.
Next came the sauce. The cornstarch, sugar, water and spices were cooked until it was bubbly and thick. Then, it was removed from the heat and the butter was added until is was melted and the whole mix was smooth and creamy.
Now it is finally time to assemble the whole thing! The chopped pears were spread out on top of the crust. The sauce was poured over the entire thing and then the reserved crust was crumbled over the top and it went in the oven. It baked for about 55 minutes until it was bubbly and the crumb topping was a golden brown color. Now for the good part—finally getting to eat it!!
While this dessert took forever and a day to put together and used a ton of pans, it was simply wonderful and perfect for fall. I used a bunch of different kinds of pears and they all had a great flavor in this dessert. The crunch of the pears mixed with the buttery crust and sauce was a great combo. I will definitely make this again—maybe I will have someone do all of the prep work—but it is a definite keeper! Enjoy!!
Pear Dessert Squares (recipe adapted from Taste of Home)
I doubled the whole recipe and baked it in a 9×13 pan
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 3 egg yolks
- 4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups chopped peeled ripe pears
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients with a fork. Remove 1 cup to another bowl; stir in the remaining sugar and set aside for the topping.
- Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, for filling, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt and cinnamon in a small saucepan; slowly stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
- Toss pears with remaining cornstarch; spoon over crust. Top with filling. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 9 servings.