These Pear Bars are a cozy fall dessert with the rich flavors of sweet pears, nutty oats, and creamy dairy-free cheese for a delightful blend of textures and seasonal fall ingredients. This crumb bar recipe is perfect way to enjoy the seasonal ingredients in a comforting and satisfying autumn treat.
Updated October 2023
Delightful Pear Bars – A Perfect Fall Dessert
Fall is the season of comfort food and warm, cozy treats. If you’re looking for a delicious dessert that embodies the essence of autumn, these Pear Bars are a must-try. With a nutty oat-based crust, a creamy dairy-free filling, and a luscious spiced pear topping, these bars are a harmonious blend of textures and fall flavors and a delightful taste of autumn in every bite.
Plus, they’re perfectly portable making them a delicious option for sharing at parties, potlucks or any time you need a wholesome gluten-free and dairy-free treat.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the Crust and Topping:
- Gluten-free quick-cooking oats: These oats form the base of our crust and topping, providing a lovely crumbly texture and a hint of nutty flavor. For a grain-free option, you can use equal parts of roughly chopped sliced almonds and roughly chopped coconut flakes.
- Gluten-free finely ground oat flour: Oat flour binds the crust and topping together while adding a subtly sweet oatiness to the mix. You can also sub with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, cassava flour or regular all purpose if you’re not gluten-free.
- Vegan butter: A crucial ingredient for creating the perfect crumbly texture in a dairy-free way. You can also use coconut oil, ghee, or regular butter if you’re not dairy-free.
- Coconut sugar: This natural sweetener brings a warm, caramel-like sweetness to the crust and topping.
- Pecans: Chopped pecans provide a delightful crunch and a rich, nutty flavor.
- Baking soda: This leavening agent helps the crust rise slightly.
- Ground cinnamon: Adds a warm, comforting spice to the crust and topping.
- Medium pears: Fresh, juicy pears provide a fruity contrast to the crust and a burst of fall flavor.
- Coconut sugar: Once again, coconut sugar adds a natural sweetness to the pear mixture. For a lower sugar option, you can also use Lakanto golden monk fruit sweetener or Brown Swerve. Regular brown sugar works too.
- Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch thickens the pear mixture, ensuring it holds together beautifully. You can also sub with arrowroot starch or cornstarch if you’re not corn-free
- Ground cinnamon: Complements the pear mixture with a warm, spiced note.
- Ground nutmeg: Nutmeg’s earthy, slightly sweet flavor enhances the overall depth of the pear mixture.
- Dairy-free cream cheese: This component brings the creamy, luscious texture to the bars while keeping them dairy-free. We recommend Kite-Hill, but regular cream cheese works just as well if dairy isn’t a concern.
- Coconut sugar: Just a touch of coconut sugar adds a hint of sweetness to the filling. Again, feel free to use your preferred brown sugar substitute.
- Pure vanilla extract: Provides a classic vanilla aroma and flavor.
- Pure almond extract: The almond extract adds a subtle nuttiness to the bars.
- Egg: The egg serves as a binding agent, providing structure to the filling. If you prefer a vegan option, feel free to use your favorite egg substitute.
Instructions: How to make Pear Bars
- Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Crust and Topping: In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Mix in oats and chopped pecans. Press half of this mixture into the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes until it’s slightly golden brown.
- Pear Mixture: In a separate bowl, combine chopped pears with sugar, starch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss together and set aside.
- Cream Cheese Filling: In another mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and mix until smooth.
- Layering and Baking: Pour the cream cheese mixture over the slightly cooled crust. Spread the pear mixture over the cream cheese, and top with the remaining oatmeal streusel topping. Press down lightly. Bake for approximately 28-33 minutes until slightly browned and the center is set.
- Cool and Store: Allow the bars to cool completely or refrigerate before cutting into bars. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.
Tips for Success:
- Soften the butter/vegan butter: Ensure it’s at room temperature for easy mixing and a smooth texture.
- Mixing the cream cheese filling: Whip it until smooth and creamy for a perfect consistency.
- Press the crust: Pat down the crust mixture firmly to create a sturdy base.
- Cool before cutting: Allow the bars to cool or refrigerate before slicing to achieve clean, neat bars.
These Gluten-Free Pear Bars are wonderful on their own, but you can elevate them further by adding a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. They make a delightful dessert for fall gatherings or cozy nights in.
Variations and Substitutions:
- For a grain-free option, substitute 1/2 cup chopped almonds and 1/4 cup coconut flakes.
- Use your preferred sweetener or brown sugar as a substitute for coconut sugar.
- Swap out gluten-free flour with regular all-purpose flour if gluten isn’t a concern.
- Experiment with different fruits like apples or berries for a unique twist on this recipe like our Apple Pie Bars, Peach Bars and Strawberry Crumb Bars.
Storage and Freezer Instructions:
Store leftover pear bars in the fridge for up to three days.
If you’d like to save some for later, they freeze well. Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months.
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ:
1. Can I use regular oats instead of gluten-free oats?
- Yes, you can use regular oats if you don’t have gluten sensitivities. It won’t significantly alter the recipe.
2. Can I substitute coconut sugar with another sweetener?
- Absolutely! You can use your preferred sweetener or brown sugar as a substitute for coconut sugar.
3. What if I’m not dairy-free? Can I use regular cream cheese and butter?
- Yes, you can use regular cream cheese and butter if dairy is not a concern. It will work just as well.
4. Are there vegan options for this recipe?
- Yes, you can use vegan butter and an egg substitute of your choice to make this recipe entirely vegan.
5. Can I freeze these pear bars?
- Yes, these bars freeze well. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months.
6. Can I use a different fruit in place of pears?
- Of course! You can experiment with other fruits like apples or berries for a unique twist on this recipe.
7. What is the best way to ensure the crust is perfectly crumbly?
- Be sure to soften the butter or vegan butter to room temperature for easy mixing and a smooth texture. Additionally, pat down the crust mixture firmly to create a sturdy base.
8. Can I serve these pear bars with anything to enhance the experience?
- Yes, these bars are great on their own, but you can elevate them by adding a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a special treat.
More delicious fruit bar recipes you will love:
- 3/4 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oats , can also sub with 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats - for a grain-free option you can use 1/2 cup roughly chopped sliced almonds and 1/4 roughly chopped coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup gluten-free finely ground oat flour , you can also sub with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, cassava flour, superfine almond flour or regular all purpose if you're not gluten-free
- 1/3 cup vegan butter , softened - you can also sub with refined coconut oil, ghee or unsalted butter if you're not dairy-free
- 1/3 cup firmly packed coconut sugar , for a lower sugar option, you can also use Lakanto golden monk fruit sweetener or Brown Swerve. Regular brown sugar works too.
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3-4 medium pears peeled , cored and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup firmly packed coconut sugar , for a lower sugar option, you can also use Lakanto golden monk fruit sweetener or Brown Swerve. Regular brown sugar works too.
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch , you can also sub with arrowroot starch or cornstarch if you're not corn-free
- 2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 ounce dairy-free cream cheese , softened - we like Kite-Hill. Regular cream cheese works too if you're not dairy-free
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed coconut sugar , for a lower sugar option, you can also use Lakanto golden monk fruit sweetener or Brown Swerve. Regular brown sugar works too.
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 large egg r, oom temperature - you can also use your preferred egg substitute of choice for a vegan option
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the flour, baking soda and ground cinnamon. Toss in the oats and chopped pecans and combine well. Press half of the mixture into greased baking pan and bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden brown.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the chopped pears with sugar, starch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine well and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Add the egg and combine until smooth and creamy.
- Pour cream cheese mixture onto the slightly cooled crust. Spread pears over the cream cheese and add sprinkle the rest of the oatmeal streusel topping covering the pears pressing down lightly.
- Bake until slightly brown and center is set around 28-33 minutes. Cool completely or refrigerate prior to cutting into bars. Store leftover bars in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How to store: Store leftover pear bars in the fridge for up to three days.
How to freeze: If you'd like to save some for later, they freeze well. Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months.