A while ago I posted not one, but two recipes for salted caramel. As much as I love salted caramel, I didn't make it just to eat it with a spoon straight from the jar (although a large amount of the caramel did suffer that fate). I actually made it for these amazing pear squares, which I have adapted from a recipe for Apple Pie Bars from Sally's Baking Addiction. I used pear as that was what I happened to take out of the freezer. Note to self, frozen apple and pear look very similar if they aren't labelled appropriately. I have learned my lesson, and have been much more diligent with my labelling pen and masking tape this year. But this time it turned out to be a very lucky coincidence as the squares turned out really good.
Pear and Salted Caramel Squares (makes 16 squares):
115 g unsalted butter, melted
50 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
125 g all purpose flour
about 2 cups of cubed pear (if using frozen, defrost and drain well before using)
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, cloves or ground ginger depending on preference (or a bit of each...)
(optional: a tbsp or two of stewed pear)
70 g muscovado sugar (I prefer light to dark for this bake)
30 g all purpose flour
60 g butter
home made salted caramel
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F). Line a 8x8 in (20x20 cm) baking tin with parchment paper. Prepare the crust by mixing all ingredients but the flour, and then adding flour, mixing only enough to get a smooth dough. Press into the baking tin, and bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling and crumble. For the filling, mix the pear with the spices. You could add sugar if you want to, but I think it was perfect without any added sugar. To prepare the crumble mix oats, sugar and flour in a bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, and rub it into the oat and flour mix until you get a consistency of coarse sand.
When the crust has baked, increase the oven temperature to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Spread the stewed pears and then pear chunks in an even layer onto the crust, and top with crumble. Bake for another 30-35 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.
Let cool completely, first in room temperature and then for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Drizzle with salted caramel and cut into 16 squares.
I have already made these bars twice, that's how good they are. I'm sure the original version with apples is amazing, but I think my pear one worked really well, and as I said, I omitted the sugar from the filling as I didn't want them to be overly sweet. Together with the delicious home made salted caramel they make such a perfect combination. I enjoyed the squares best when room temperature, but they were also good when eaten warm with some vanilla ice cream. I was going to put some of them into the freezer, but not all too surprisingly there weren't any left when I was going to freeze them.