The Canadian Food Experience Project: Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars

Time for this month’s Canadian Food Experience Project challenge, the Canadian Harvest in….Alberta!
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Maybe I’m following a stereotype here but harvest time in the prairies is very indicative of grains. Wheat, oats, barley; they are all grown here. Along with a lot of dry peas, lentils, soybeans and mustard seeds. But I’m not too keen on the sounds of any of those in dessert.
Let’s go back to talking about oats for a bit. Specifically these oats, my favourite oats, from Highwood Crossing. They hold a special place in my heart the folks at Highwood Crossing. Back when I baked at Boxwood they would come in, cowboy boots and all, with my weekly delivery of flour and oats. Not only did I know where the food was coming from, I made the connection that there were real people behind it. By supporting local producers like Highwood Crossing, not only do you promote community, you also contribute to the livelihoods of the people in it, rather than CEOs of industrial agribusiness. The food you get might be a little more expensive but it makes up for it in taste, nutritional value and simply knowing that you made a sustainable choice.
These vegan apple pear streusel bars are my take on apple crisp in a sliceable format. BC apples are sandwiched between an oatmeal cookie crust and an oat streusel topping, for a double whammy of oat goodness. Speaking of goodness, they are pretty darn healthy too. I always love myself a dessert that can double as breakfast the next morning. Especially when that dessert/breakfast is made from oats like these!
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars

Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars
Makes 9 portions

Ingredients

Base

– 3/4 cup flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons canola oil
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce
– 1 cup rolled oats

Filling

– 2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
– 1 pear, peeled and sliced thinly
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp. each allspice and cloves
– 2 tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 tbsp. flour

Topping

– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds
– 1/4 cup canola oil

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 350F. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper.
2. To make the base, mix together the canola oil and pumpkin puree (or applesauce). Add the brown sugar and stir until it forms a paste of sorts.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats. Stir until combined and press into the bottom of your prepared 9″ pan.
4. For the filling, mix the sliced apples and pears with the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, maple syrup and flour. Pour this on top of the base.
5. Finally the topping. Mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds and oil. It should be crumbly but moist enough that when you squeeze a handful of it, it somewhat holds together. Sprinkle this over top of the apples in a nice, even layer.
6. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes.
7. Cool for at least 20-30 minutes before removing the vegan apple pear streusel bars from the pan. Slice and serve!

Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars

 

26 thoughts on “The Canadian Food Experience Project: Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars

  • November 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm
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    These bars look healthy and delicious! I think the combo of apple and pear make a delightful taste! just popping over from the Sweet Bella Roos Link Party. I have pinned, liked and tweeted, and g+-ed. I would love it if you would drop by my site at http://www.kneadedcreations.com for a short visit! I will look forward to seeing you there! Deb @ Kneaded Creations.

    Reply
  • November 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm
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    I am definitely up for adding an awesome oat streusel to these apple/pear bars! Big yum!

    Reply
  • November 10, 2013 at 12:27 am
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    Three layers of deliciousness! I am in complete love! What a great bar.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2013 at 10:15 am
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    When I think of the harvest I do think of the prairies, but it has been enjoyable reading stories from all the provinces.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm
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    Having lived in both BC amid the apples and Calgary amid the grains, your recipe really resonates with me and my own sense of the Canadian harvest. I feel warm and comforted just looking at the pictures. Thank you.

    Ps. … and I’m totally with your on the best desserts being those that make great breakfasts as well. This will be a must-make soon.

    Reply
    • November 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm
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      You’re welcome — and, thank you again: I made the recipe last night. I played around with it to make it gluten-free as well. Not sure if it is a result of the substitutions (quite likely), but I still have some tweaking to do to get the base to firm up a bit more (perhaps bake the base for 10 minutes first before layering on the rest?), but the flavours and texture are divine. Your description of it being a sliceable apple crisp is perfect. Definitely a winner.

      Reply
    • November 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm
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      I would definitely try par-baking the crust first if you find that it is too soft! Great to hear that the recipe worked for you otherwise!

      Reply
  • November 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm
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    Thanks Mallory. With your permission, I’d be very pleased to post my gluten-free version of this on my own blog when I try it again.

    Reply
    • November 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm
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      Absolutely! I checked out your site and I love the photography by the way. It would be much appreciated if you could also say that you got the idea from here and decided to make it GF. Cheers!

      Reply
    • November 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm
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      Most certainly. I should have made that explicit. I’ll certainly link back to your recipe and site. You have many yummy treasures here … and I love your own food photography. Thank you for your own compliments. I love Valerie’s project because as much as we’re all writing and working towards a common goal, we’re also developing a community and ‘meeting’ other great contributors. Thank you.

      Reply
  • December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm
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    Mallory,
    These bars look terrific. My Canadian food experience has to include Red River cereal because that’s what Mom would bring back from her trips to visit her mom. Thanks for giving me the link to include in my upcoming Band Fruit Fundraiser Recipe Round Up! It will be published on 12/4/2013!

    Reply
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