3 Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice piled together on a small round white plate with a few crushed pecans around them all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice

Adding juice from a prickly pear to traditional lemon bars gives a bit of a sweet taste to the otherwise tangy dessert.

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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. 

Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice

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. 

Dry ingredients for lemon bars with prickly pear juice in a clear plastic bowl with a yellow rubber spatula on a granite countertop

Grease an 8×8 baking dish and press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes. 

Lemon bar crust pressed into a glass baking dish on a granite countertop

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. 

Prickly pear juice and lemon bar filling being poured from a stainless steel mixing bowl on top of lemon bar crust in a glass baking dish sitting on a gas stovetop

Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with crushed pecans and serve.

3 Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice piled together on a small round white plate with a few crushed pecans around them all on a wooden surface (vertical)

Recipe

Originally Published On: October 29, 2018

Last Updated On: February 25, 2020

3 Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice piled together on a small round white plate with a few crushed pecans around them all on a wooden surface

Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice

Adding juice from a prickly pear to traditional lemon bars gives a bit of a sweet taste to the otherwise tangy dessert.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon, prickly pear
Servings: 9 bars
5 from 8 votes

Ingredients

Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 4 tbsp butter (softened)
Filling
  • 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
Topping
  • 2 tbsp pecans (chopped)

Instructions

  • 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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Nutrition Facts
Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 222 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 57mg2%
Potassium 84mg2%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 160IU3%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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44 thoughts on “Lemon Bars with Prickly Pear Juice”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    1. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

  8. 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.

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