These gluten-free, dairy-free Pomegranate Apple Crumble Bars have a tender almond flour crust, a gooey apple filling with pomegranate arils, and a crumble topping.
Finding the first pomegranates of the season makes me as excited as I am the day I'm "officially allowed" to start decorating for Christmas. Combining them with apples in these paleo Pomegranate Apple Crumble Bars makes me happy that winter and the holiday fun it brings is on its way.
These apple bars have all the layered goodness of apple pie, but without the fuss of pastry. They're made with a simple shortbread-style base, topped with sweet caramelized apples and pop-in-your-mouth pomegranate arils, then topped with more shortbread crumble.
What makes these squares different from regular gluten-free apple bars? That layer of ruby-red pomegranates! It adds a punch of colour and flavour and they make little happy explosions in your mouth with every bite.
Tips for baking Pomegranate Apple Crumble Bars
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Leave the edges overhanging to allow for easy removal once the apple crumble squares have baked.
Use the base of a drinking glass to press the base firmly into the pan before baking. Remember to save ¼ of the base mixture for the crumble topping.
In a saucepan, combine diced (or sliced) apples with spices, salt, tapioca starch and maple syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
Spread evenly over the cooked base. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
Top with the remaining crumble topping, pressing down gently to hold in place.
Bake for 20 - 24 minutes at 350°F. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then carefully lift the parchment paper "handles" to transfer to a cooling rack.
A note about gluten-free bars
While these bars are delicious when warm straight from the oven, they will be easier to slice more uniformly when they have cooled.
The gluten-free base is made with almond flour, so it is slightly softer than a shortbread base made with wheat flour. These apple crumble bars stay firm when refrigerated. I have frozen them successfully, too. I line an air-tight container with paper towel, place the bars in a single layer, then cover with another layer of paper towel before sealing. The paper towel helps to absorb moisture and prevents the bars from becoming soggy when thawed.
If you love easy crumble bars, you'll love these Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Oatmeal Bars, too. Sweet, but not too sweet, these gluten free Cranberry Lemon Oatmeal Bars have notes of bright lemon and they’re bursting with cranberries!
Paleo Pomegranate Apple Crumble Bars
Shortbread Base and Crumble Topping
- 2 cups apples peeled, cored and finely diced or sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, or cornstarch if not on a paleo diet
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of half a lemon
- ¾ cup pomegranate arils
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving long edges for easy removal.
- Combine almond flour, coconut flour, oil or butter, coconut sugar and salt in a large bowl. Set aside one quarter of the mixture for the crumble topping. Press the remaining mixture firmly into the lined pan. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- In a saucepan, combine diced apples with spices, salt, tapioca starch and maple syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Spread evenly over shortbread base. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
- Top with remaining crumble mixture, pressing down gently.
- Bake for 20 - 24 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing. Because the base of these bars is made with almond flour, these bars are slightly soft. Best stored in refrigerator.
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