Adding juice from a prickly pear to traditional lemon bars gives a bit of a sweet taste to the otherwise tangy dessert.Jump to Recipe
We’ve made regular lemon bars many times before. But now, we wanted to add something more. Lemon bars with prickly pear juice are a great twist on the traditional bars.
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 at the pickup site. 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 prickly pears online while Justin drove home. That’s when we found out its part of a cactus and is very sweet inside. You 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. That’s the name of the entire plant. The fruit is called cactus fruit or cactus fig and is made up of about 88% water. So it is perfect for making 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.
We already had made lemon bars ourselves before. So I took that recipe and modified it to add the prickly pear juice.
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. 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.
Originally Published On: October 29, 2018
Last Updated On: February 25, 2020
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
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
44 thoughts on “Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice”
I absolutely love lemon bars! So light and refreshing! I will substitute the egg whites with flax egg and will make these, on saturday! Perfect weekend treat!
I’ve never tried using a flax egg before in baking, does it really work just as well?
This is one of the reasons why I love CSA’s so much- what a fun way to explore something you didn’t even know existed! Though I’ve never had prickly pear before, I bet these lemon bars are absolutely divine. Hoping I can make these with some store bought prickly pear juice!
I know, I was so sad when they had to stop ours for over a year due to supplier issues. They just started up again and I can’t wait to get the next one and see what we get!
These sound amazing!! Please figure out a way to mass produce these, then shut up and take my money!!
Haha I wish I could! I have a hard time finding prickly pears when we don’t get them in the produce baskets.
Ok I am in love with lemon bars! But have never tried it with pear juice. this sounds amazing! I need to try this
The prickly pear juice added a bit of sweetness to it that balanced out the tart lemon in such an amazing way.
These lemon bars look so fresh and yummy. I’m excited to try this recipe out.
They are definitely fresh, with a sweet and sour taste that works together so well.
I love trying new things! I miss that about my CSA. Since moving, I haven’t found a new one. These lemon bars look delicious! I’ve been on a baking frenzy lately. I’ll have to add these to my list of recipes to try!
Ours stopped for over a year due to supplier issues and I missed it! They just started again and I can’t wait to join the next contribution. It’s so fun to see what we get.
I love a good lemon bar! When I was growing up that was my good grade treat!
That’s awesome! I don’t think I even tasted a lemon bar until I was an adult!!
My husband is obsesed with lemon bars and I love everything prickly pear so I have to try this one day!!!!!
Sounds like this is the perfect combination for the two of you, then!
I love everything with lemons and these look so delicious. They would perfect with a cup of tea in this beautiful fall night. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
That sounds wonderful! They are a perfect light snack.
Yesterday was the first time I’d heard of this “fruit” it sounds so interesting and I definitely want to try it. I love lemon bars, it’s one of my favorite things to make!
I didn’t know about it until it was in our basket, either. It was so interesting, and the juice was so sweet and delicious!
This looks amazing. I love everything lemony, I will have to give this a try!
The prickly pear adds a bit of sweet to the tart lemon, but it’s a great combination!
I admit that even though I live in New Mexico, I’ve never actually tried a prickly pear but I hear amazing things about it! I wouldn’t even know how to begin with a recipe including one but this actually sounds like something I can try! I will have to let you know how it turns out! <3
I had never heard of them and had no clue what to do at first either. But the sweet flavor of the prickly pear balances the tart lemon in an amazing way. You should definitely give these a try so you can say you’ve eaten one 🙂
Mmm this lemon bars look to die for! I have to definitely give these a try!
They are so yummy, I hope you get a chance to make some for yourself!
Mmmmm I love lemon bars. This makes me sad because my father found some wild prickly pears and we didn’t know what to do with them, so we threw them out. 🙁
Next time, I’ll be sure to make these! They look so good.
Oh man, I wouldn’t have known what to do with them, either. I didn’t even know what it was until we got one in the co-op basket.
Prickly Pears! I think I have only seen them in the Asian market honestly. And I am in luck, I have one really close to where I live!
Oh, I didn’t think to look in the Asian market! I don’t know of one, but Houston is huge, I’m sure there are many here.
These bars sound delicious – I love anything lemon flavoured! I don’t think I’ve ever tried prickly pear though… in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen one. Will look out for them next time I’m shopping…
They are hard to find here, too. GiGi said above that she sees them in the Asian market, so if you have one near you that might be an option.
I am super intrigued by these (which means I’m definitely baking these asap). I love pears and this combo sounds wonderful!
Prickly pears are a bit different from regular pears, but they are so sweet which works perfectly with the tart lemon in the bars. I’d love to know what you think of them once you make the dessert for your family!
I have never heard of this fruit before. It sounds interesting. Love what you’ve created to try it out.
It was definitely interesting. I haven’t been able to find one again since, but I’ve only looked at chain grocery stores, not local or specialty ones.
I just found your recipe for lemon bars with prickly pear juice. I am intrigued! So many commenters can’t find them, so I wanted to contribute. Prickly Pear fruits are seasonal and I find them in the fresh produce section, especially in stores with a good Mexican food selection. Prickly Pear fruits can range in color from yellow to red to purple.
They are frequently near the Nopales, which are young pads from the same cactus. People peel and dice Nopales to cook as a side dish or to be added to scrambled eggs or other dishes.
This definitely helps, thank you! I need to go to some of our bigger stores here. Being in SE Texas, there is often a good selection of Mexican foods, but not at the small grocery store I typically shop at. I’ll have to try the Nopales if I can get them, too!
Lemon vars with pear juice? That is an interesting combination! I would want to make this to see how does that combination tastes. I know you described it but I need to taste it first hand. I am trying to figure it out right now.
It was a great way to balance out the tart of the lemon since the prickly pear is very sweet.
I love this Lemon Bars with pear juice! This is so yum and perfect for breakfast serving! I’m my mom would love this!
Yeah, I might have had one or two for breakfast even though they are usually a dessert! 🙂
I have never knew about the pear juice until now. From the look of it, it seems so tasty and worth of a try over the weekend.
It was definitely interesting to juice it like that, but very sweet and yummy!