Pear Custard Bars

Hello, my lovely readers! I'm excited to have a theme for the delicious Autumn season: a cookbook of the month! I made this decision halfway through October, so it might spill into November (can you believe we're almost to November?). See, I realized I have quite a few wonderful cookbooks that I never use. Why? Because I'm bombarded with recipes on the internet and in magazines. Which is all very inspiring, but I do want to make use of my cooking library. Plus, now that all my friends and family (and couchsurfers) know that I love to cook, they naturally give me cookbooks as gifts. I need to make it a priority to use them.

This month's cookbook is Simply in Season. I found it fitting to choose this as the first cookbook of the month because I've dog-eared almost every page to indicate recipes I want to try some day. Eventually I decided to stop dog-earring and just start cooking.

So, without further ado, let's talk about the first recipe I chose. It's a doozy. Pear Custard Bars. Yes! They're amazing! I knew I would like them, but little did I know how much I would love them. And who can resist something with the word "custard" in the title? It actually only has one egg in it, but it still tastes rich and custard-y. Go to the farmer's market, pick up some in-season pears (and farm-fresh eggs and yogurt or cream cheese) and bake these for any occasion, even if you have to make one up. They're absolutely delicious. Here's the recipe:

Pear Custard Bars
Recipe from Jocele Meyer, published in Simply In Season
Yields 16 bars

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1-4 teaspoon vanilla
Cream together with an electric mixer

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
Add and beat until combined

2/3 cup nuts (I actually omitted these because I was concerned about nut allergies, and the bars were still amazing, but I'm sure they'd be even more amazing with added almonds or even pine nuts)
Stir in and press into an 8x8 inch/2 quart baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.

8 ounces cream cheese (softened) or 1 cup plain yogurt (I used a combination)
1/2 cup sugar (turbinado)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth (no need to beat the yogurt). Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla. Pour over crust.

3 cups fresh pears (try experimenting with red pears, bosc pears, or even apple pears)
Slice pears (no need to peel) and arrange over filling.

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine and sprinkle over pears. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (center will be soft and will become firmer upon cooling). Cool for 45 minutes, then cover and refrigerate at least 45 minutes before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

What is your favorite autumn dessert? Which autumn recipes do you have on deck?


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