Baklava is a sweet that’s claimed by many countries around Central Asia and the Middle East, which means there are about as many variations as there are people who make it. Most versions share the phyllo dough, nuts and syrup in common and while it’s good with a cup of tea, it tends to be a little too sweet for my taste.
Through my travels, I’ve seen versions that use everything from walnuts to pistachios to sesame seeds, but I’ve never seen one made with peanuts. Given my love for peanut butter, I decided to give it a go, and you know what? It works!
The flaky layers of crispy buttery phyllo dough, crunchy peanuts and creamy white chocolate peanut butter, takes this humble dessert and elevates it from rustic to elegant. The combination of textures and flavors kind of reminds me of French praliné, and because this uses about two thirds less sugar than most recipes, it’s not overly sweet.
While phyllo dough might scare some of you that have never worked with it, it’s actually quite simple and this dish is especially fun to make, just make sure the dough doesn’t dry out while you’re working with it.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Yield: about 16 pieces
1 package frozen phyllo dough (sometimes spelled “filo”)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter
½ cup mild flavored honey
1. Put your oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 350°F.
2. Thoroughly butter a 9” x 9” pan, using a pastry brush and the melted butter. Cut the phyllo with a sharp knife to fit the dimensions of your pan. Keep the cut phyllo under a lightly damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out and put away the rest.
3. Put one sheet of phyllo down on the bottom of the pan then brush with butter. Repeat 5 more times for a total of 6 layers.
4. Spread half the chopped peanuts over the 6th layer of phyllo, and then add 3 alternating layers of phyllo and butter.
5. Scatter the White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter over the phyllo, and then gently spread it around evenly, taking care not to tear the phyllo.
6. Add 3 more alternating layers of phyllo and butter, then scatter the other half of the chopped peanuts.
7. Top with another 6 layers of phyllo and butter, then use a sharp knife to cut the baklava up. You can do squares, diamonds or triangles.
8. Bake the baklava for 50-60 minutes or until lightly browned. Measure out the honey and as soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, drizzle the honey on top. It’s important that you pour the honey on while the baklava is very hot. Let cool completely then serve.