Friday, October 14, 2011

Test Kitchen Thursday - Pear Pie Bars

Like last week's post this recipe again comes from one of those pesky special interest magazines that seem to grab my interest.  This time it is the Better Homes and Gardens 2011 Fall Baking magazine.

Due to some issues with ingredients I did have to modify the recipe - I'll make those designations in the recipe itself.  All in all I didn't actually enjoy these bars as much as I thought I would.  Good for my waistline I guess.  However, Grant, my husband and my father-in-law thought they were great.  Clark left some on his plate so I take that to mean he wasn't a fan either.  So, you may just have to try them yourself to decide.  (Note:  they seem to get better if left to sit overnight)

I think part of my reasoning for not enjoying them as much was the recipe reminded me very much of my mom's Apple Slices.  Very similar look and method but maybe the apples just add the right amount of sweet/tart that the pear's didn't provide.  Everything about the recipe technically turned out just right - good consistency, ate like a bar as stated, good aroma, pretty appearance. 

Before moving on to the recipe I just have to tell this little story.  Clark was helping me with the recipe this afternoon and he would ask me what the instructions said to do next.  At one point he asked, "Mommy, does it say next to take a picture?"  Observant boy - he's so used to the camera in the kitchen I didn't think he noticed it anymore.  I explained that the pictures were a step mommy added for fun.  His 4 year old response, "Well, we would get it in the oven a lot faster without those steps."  So true my boy, so true!

Five Spice Pear Pie Bars from the 2011 Better Homes and Gardens Fall Baking magazine.

Pastry Crust:
3 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup shortening (used butter flavored shortening)
1/2 Cup cold butter (used unsalted butter)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/3 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons water

6 Cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced ripe pears (about 6 - 7 medium)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup crushed cornflakes (if I try again might use oatmeal instead)
1 teaspoon five-spice powder (was unable to find this so used 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)

Orange Icing:
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 - 2 Tablespoons milk

For pastry, in a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea sized.  In small bowl whisk together the yolks and milk.  Gradually stir the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture, tossing with a fork to moisten.  Sprinkle 1 - 2 tablespoons of the water over the mixture, gently tossing until all of the mixture is moistened.  Gather mixture together.  Divide pastry into two portions, making one portion slightly larger than the other.  Wrap and chill until needed.

For filling, in an extra large bowl combine pears, sugar, cornflakes and the five-spice powder (or other spices).  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Use your hands to pat the larger portion of pastry into the bottom (sprayed with baking spray first) of a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan. 

Spoon filling evenly into pastry-lined pan.

  Roll the remaining pastry portion between two sheets of waxed paper to a 15 x 10 inch rectangle.  Carefully peel off top sheet of waxed paper.  Invert the rectangle, pastry side down, over the filling.  Carefully peel off waxed paper. 

Press over top.  Make sure there are a few slits in the top pastry and brush lightly with egg white.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until pastry is golden, fruit is tender and filling is bubbly.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. 

Drizzle with the Orange Icing.  Let stand until icing is set. Cut into bars.  Yield: 32 bars.

For icing:  in a medium bowl stir together powdered sugar, orange peel, vanilla and enough of the milk to make icing a drizzling consistency.


My goal was to make these on Tuesday so I could have the post pre written and ready to go on Thursday morning.  However, the boys ate all the pears I had bought for the recipe so I had Alan purchase some pears to bring home Monday night but should have specified they needed to be ripe.  Then my internet connection broke down on Thursday when trying to post.  So, finally its up and ready! 

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