Prickly Pears are the flower part of a cactus that was first discovered in the United States in the lower Rocky Mountains and the southern Great Plains areas. So, how did we end up with one to eat in Texas?
We participate in a bi-weekly produce co-op in our community. It’s a great way to get fruits and vegetables at a low price with very little packaging. But, since it’s a co-op, we don’t have a choice in what produce we get.
One of our baskets came with these small, round, pink things. We had no clue what they were. When we were leaving, I asked the wonderful ladies working the pickup site and they said it’s a prickly pear and that was all they could tell me about it.
Since it was the only new thing to us, I started to research it online while Justin drove home. That’s when we found out it’s part of a cactus and is very sweet inside. You just have to be careful to fully peel it so none of the spines are left in your food.
Actually, the fruit itself is not called prickly pear, but that’s the name of the entire plant. The fruit is called cactus fruit or cactus fig among other names. Cactus fruit is made up of about 88% water, so it is perfect for making a juice to sweeten any dessert.
We weren’t exactly sure what to do with the cactus fruit, so we started searching online for recipe ideas. Justin came across this recipe for lemon bars topped with prickly pear juice and they looked delicious.
Step by Step
Cut and prepare your prickly pear juice. There’s a great tutorial HERE but I will also summarize. Slice both ends of the pear off. Make a long slit vertically on one side of the fruit. Grab one side and peel the skin off of the fruit inside. Place the inside into a blender and pulse until it is liquefied. Then use a fine mesh strainer to get the juice from the pulp and seeds. For this recipe, one decent-sized pear should make enough juice.
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the crust ingredients and mix until they are crumbly.
Grease an 8×8 baking dish and press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to combine all of the filling ingredients. Pour the filling over the warm crust then bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with crushed pecans and serve.
Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup pecans (chopped)
- 4 tbsp butter (softened)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp prickly pear juice
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp pecans (chopped)
- Prepare the prickly pear juice: Slice both ends of the pear off. Make a long slit vertically on one side of the fruit. Grab one side and peel the skin off of the fruit inside. Place the inside into a blender and pulse until it is liquefied. Then use a fine mesh strainer to get the juice from the pulp and seeds. For this recipe, one decent-sized pear should make enough juice.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the crust ingredients until crumbly
- Press into a greased 8×8 baking dish
- Bake for 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to combine all of the filling ingredients.
- Pour the filling over the warm crust then bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is set
- Let the bars cool completely before cutting
- Sprinkle with crushed pecans before serving
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