Salted Caramel Pear Pie Bars


Dense, buttery shortbread crust and a delicately spiced filling make these pear pie bars absolutely irresistible. And once you see how easy they are to make and to serve, chances are, you’ll pick them over traditional pie every time. You’ll find yourself with more salted caramel sauce than you need for the bars, but you can spoon the rest over top of anything from ice cream to waffles. Just store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge (and heat the leftovers before using). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, as desired.


For the Crust:

  • nonstick baking spray
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Filling:

  • 8 medium pears – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch salt

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper so that there is a 2 inch overhang on the two long sides of the pan. (This makes it easier to lift the pie bars out of the pan after baking.)
  2. Beat the butter, brown and white sugars, and vanilla extract for crust in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and salt; mix at low speed until combined. Refrigerate dough for 10 minutes.
  3. With lightly moistened hands, press about 2/3 of the crust mixture evenly along the bottom of prepared pan; refrigerate pan for 5 to 7 minutes. Place the remaining 1/3 of the crust mixture in the fridge until needed.
  4. Bake crust in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on.
  5. To prepare the filling, toss the pear slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt; toss well to coat. Spread the pears evenly over the crust.
  6. Tear the reserved crust mixture into small pieces. Using your hands, combine the walnuts with the dough and scatter the mixture evenly over the pears.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven 1 hour, rotating pan halfway through, until the pears are fork-tender and the topping is golden brown. Cool completely in the pan, 1 to 2 hours.
  8. To prepare the caramel sauce, combine the sugar and water in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat; cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves.
  9. Increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a boil-without stirring, but instead, regularly swirling the pan and occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Cook, swirling and brushing regularly, until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 12 to 17 minutes.
  10. Gently pour in the heavy cream (the caramel will foam and bubbly up vigorously). Add in the butter pieces and stir gently until smooth. Remove the caramel from heat and stir in the salt.
  11. When ready to serve, use the parchment overhang to lift the slab from the pan and slice into bars. Drizzle with the caramel sauce.