Danish Pear-Apple Bars

Disclaimer: This is not my recipe all the credit goes to Sarah Kieffer the recipe is from her 100 Cookies cookbook linked: here

Fall is here and so are fall desserts! For my first fall dessert I made a Danish Pear-Apple Bars. These are essentially combining a danish with pie. Doesn’t that sound great? The Danish pastry characteristics comes from the cream cheese icing taste. On the other hand, the pie taste is from the simple butter pie crust. Together they make this wonderful crossover that is perfect for a snack, dessert or even breakfast! This recipe is simple and delicious!

Recipe

Makes: 12 large or 24 small bars

Disclaimer: This is not my recipe all the credit goes to Sarah Kieffer the recipe is from her 100 Cookies cookbook linked: here

Ingredients

  • Crust
    • ½ cup (120 g) whole milk, plus 1 or 2 tbsps if needed
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2 ½ cups (355 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces
  • Pear-apple filling
    • 8 cups (1100 g) Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼ inch (6 mm) pieces (4 to 5 pears)
    • 1 cup (150 g) peeled and grated Gala apples (about 2 small apples)
    • ⅓ cup (65 cup) brown sugar
    • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar, plus 1 to 2 tbsps for sprinkling
    • 3 tbsps cornstarch
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp ground ginger
    • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 tbsp brandy
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp of water + pinch of salt mixed together)
  • Icing
    • 2 oz (57g) cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 to 1 ¼ cups (120 to 145g) confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. For the crust: In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk and egg yolks.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, granulated sugar, and salt on low speed until combined. Add half of the chilled butter and mix on low speed until the butter is just starting to break down in various sizes (some butter will be incorporated into the dough, some will be a bit large, but most should be about the size of small peas). Stop the mixer and use your hands to check for any dry patches of dough on the bottom of the bowl; incorporate the dry flour as best you can. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the milk-egg mixture, and mix until the dough starts to come together. If the dough is having trouble coming together, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of milk.
  3. Divide the dough in half, place each piece on a separate piece of plastic wrap, and flatten each slightly into a square. Cover and refrigerate until cool but still soft, about 45 minutes.
  4. Make sure your work surface is lightly floured and roll one square of the dough into a 9×13 inch (22×33 cm) pan, and gently pat it into the bottom. Move the pan to the refrigerator and chill while making the filling. Roll out the second square of dough into a 9×13 inch (22×33 cm) rectangle and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Place this in the refrigerator as well.
  5. For the filling: combine the pears, apples, brown sugar, ¼ cup (50 g) of the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
  6. In a small liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine the melted butter, brandy, and vanilla. Pour over the pear-apple mixture and toss to combine.
  7. To assemble: fill the prepared pie shell with the pear-apple mixture and smooth the top. Remove the rolled-out dough from the sheet pan and gently cut a few steam vents into the dough. Place the dough over the top of the pear-apple mixture (no need to press it down to seal the dough). Chill the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
  8. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the over to 400°F (200°C). Place a sheet pan on the oven rack (the preheated sheet pan helps crisp the bottom of the pie crust).When ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Transfer the pie to the preheated sheet pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
  9. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool while you make the icing.
  10. For the icing: in a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add 1 cup (120 g) of the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
  11. Once the bars are cool, top them with the icing and slice. Bars are best eaten the same day they are made but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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