Pear Brown Butter Bars

This is a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for years, but always thought was just a bit too time consuming. Now that I’m working back from dead simple to more complex baked goods, this seemed a good recipe for the ‘simple’ end, just because there’s no rising involved, and no especially delicately textured layers to collapse or get tough. Happily, it turned out to not feel nearly as time consuming as it looks, and it wound up working out just right – delicious, with a crisp, firm bottom crust, a jam-like filing, a lightly crispy crust top, and plenty of that good browned butter flavor.

IMG_4685The one unusual thing I noticed while cooking this is that, to me, cooking the pear in orange juice somehow created a nearly pineapple-y flavor. That could be entirely in my head, but it’s what I kept thinking!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Pear Jam:

  • 2 medium sized firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (zest orange before juicing)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown Butter Filling:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk (if you ever double the recipe, use 3 whole eggs rather than 2 eggs and 2 yolks)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust, first place the 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Melt, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns brown, develops small brown flecks in it, and smells nutty. Pour the browned butter into a metal pan such as a bread pan or pie pan and freeze approximately 20 minutes, until frozen solid.. Scrape/wipe the saucepan out and set aside, as you will be using it to brown more butter later.

Line an 8X8″ pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease both the bottom and sides.

Combine the powdered sugar, flour, and salt for the crust in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Using a spoon, scrape the frozen butter into the processor.

IMG_4663Pulse until dough comes together.

IMG_4664Press evenly into the bottom of the lined pan, then freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

IMG_4665During this time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crust until golden brown, 18-22 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.

IMG_4669While the crust cools, first prepare the jam. Stir together the chopped pears, orange juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

IMG_4666Bring to a boil and cook until the pears are soft enough to mash, about 7 minutes.

IMG_4667Mash with a potato masher or fork, leaving small bits.

IMG_4668Continue to cook until there is very little excess liquid to pool if you tilt the pot, approximately another 7 minutes.

IMG_4671Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, then transfer to a bowl to cool.

While the jam is cooling, make the brown butter filling. In the small saucepan, brown the remaining butter the same way as the first batch. Set aside to cool while you whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, zest, flour, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Perfect.

Perfect?

IMG_4674

Drizzle in the melted butter, whisking as you pour to prevent the hot butter from cooking the egg. Stir until completely combined.

IMG_4675Pour half of the brown butter filling over the cooled crust.

IMG_4676Spoon the pear jam over the filling.

IMG_4677Gently spread the remaining brown butter filling over the jam.

IMG_4678Bake 35-40 minutes, still at 375, until the brown butter mixture is a deep golden brown.

IMG_4679Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Gently peel the foil from the sides of the bars, then cut into squares.

IMG_4684 IMG_4687I think the one thing these were missing was some vanilla ice cream, which is something you can easily remedy in your attempt!

Pear Brown Butter Bars

From Piece of Cake.

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Pear Jam:

  • 2 medium sized firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (zest orange before juicing)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown Butter Filling:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust, first place the 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Melt, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns brown, develops small brown flecks in it, and smells nutty. Pour the browned butter into a metal pan such as a bread pan or pie pan and freeze approximately 20 minutes, until frozen solid.. Scrape/wipe the saucepan out and set aside, as you will be using it to brown more butter later.

Line an 8X8″ pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease both the bottom and sides.

Combine the powdered sugar, flour, and salt for the crust in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Using a spoon, scrape the frozen butter into the processor and pulse until the dough comes together. Press evenly into the bottom of the lined pan, then freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crust until golden brown, 18-22 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.

While the crust cools, first prepare the jam. Stir together the chopped pears, orange juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the pears are soft enough to mash, about 7 minutes. Mash with a potato masher or fork, leaving small bits, then continue to cook until there is very little excess liquid to pool if you tilt the pot, approximately another 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, then transfer to a bowl to cool.

While the jam is cooling, make the brown butter filling. In the small saucepan, brown the remaining butter the same way as the first batch. Set aside to cool while you whisk together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, zest, flour, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter, whisking as you pour to prevent the hot butter from cooking the egg. Stir until completely combined.

Pour half of the brown butter filling over the cooled crust, then spoon the pear jam over the filling. Gently spread the remaining brown butter filling over the jam, then bake 35-40 minutes, until the brown butter mixture is a deep golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Gently peel the foil from the sides of the bars, then cut into squares.

 

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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