peanut butter and jelly baklava

April 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

I knew that sooner rather than later, my love of all things Turkish would converge with all things familiar and North American.  If you’ve followed my delightful adventures in Turkish gastronomy, I’m sure you’ve come to know my weakness for their fare.  There is one thing Turkish, though, that I happen to like but cannot love with wholehearted abandon — baklava.  The mere thought of it makes my cheeks cave in and my blood sugar spike like a knee-jerk reaction.  Baklava is simply too sweet for some.  But it doesn’t have to be.

I happen to love making the odd cultural food fusion like my red bean and green tea tiramisu (Japan meet Italy; Italy, Japan).  I figured, why not offset some of baklava’s sweetness with the flavoring of good old North American PB&J?

If you want to try it out, you’ll need:

1 box of phyllo pastry

3/4 c of butter, melted

1/2 c of peanut butter

1/2 c of jam (I prefer raspberry because it is tart and less sweet)

1 c of crushed peanuts

1 c water

2/3 c sugar

1 tbsp lime cordial or key lime juice

1. Cut phyllo pastry in half.  You will have two stacks of phyllo.  Grease a rectangular baking dish.  Place one phyllo pastry sheet in the baking dish and brush with butter.  Repeat until you have used half the number of sheets from one stack.

2. Warm peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds.  Spread 1/4 c of peanut butter on the pastry.

3. Spread 1/4 c of jam on the peanut butter.

4. Layer the remaining number of sheets from the first stack of phyllo pastry, one sheet at a time, brushing each sheet with butter.

5. Take the remaining peanut butter and spread on the pastry.  Repeat with jam.  Sprinkle crushed peanuts.

6. Layer the second stack of phyllo pastry one sheet at a time, brushing each sheet with butter.  Cut into squares followed by diagonal cuts into triangles.  Pour the rest of the butter on the pastry, making sure the butter seeps in between the cuts.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 40 minutes, until golden.  While the pastry is baking, place water, sugar, and key lime juice in a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes until the mixture turns into a light syrup.  Remove from heat.  When the pastry is baked, remove from oven and immediately pour the light syrup on top of the pastry.  Let cool.

I was due to meet with some friends yesterday and thought to take advantage of the perfect opportunity to make this little experiment so I could have others try it and, just as importantly, so I’m not left with a tray of experimental baklava at home for my sole consumption.  I packaged the slices in boxes and quickly whipped up some labels before giving them away.  The verdict?  This is not the first and only time I will be making these to give away.

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