After making a batch of Sweet Italian Sausage Cheese Bouregs recently, I was left with an extra sleeve of phyllo dough. I decided to play around with a new Paklava. It would need to be a small one though, since I only had a half pound of dough left. I wasn't crazy about that first version. I used chocolate chips, and even though I ran them through the food processor with the peanuts to break them down some, they still didn't really melt well, and I used altogether too much chocolate anyhow.
Annoyed by that first result, I had to try it again. I used the same size pan - 8x8", but I used a full pound of phyllo and less chocolate. At first I was thinking I just wasn't crazy about it, but after it had a day or so to "dry out," I was hooked! It wasn't until after I made the second batch that it occurred to me that I could have used peanut butter chips rather than actual peanut butter, which would have yielded a drier result, but I prefer real peanut butter, so I'll probably stick with that in the future, just maybe use a slightly larger pan so the filling ingredients are spread more thinly.
1 box (1 lb) phyllo dough
2 sticks butter
1 heaping T Crisco shortening (optional)
1/2 c peanut butter
1 c peanuts (I used dry roasted)
Chocolate (chips or otherwise - I used a 4.25 oz Symphony bar)
1 c sugar
1/2 c water
- Melt together the butter and Crisco - technically, it's better if you actually clarify the butter, but that's not mandatory. As for the Crisco, it helps keep the dough crispy.
- Brush your pan with melted butter.
- Lay two sheets of dough in the pan, trimming or folding as necessary to fit. If folding, be sure to switch directions so you don't end up with one end higher than the other. Butter the top layer and repeat. Continue in this manner until you have 10-12 sheets of dough in the pan, but do not butter the last layer.
- Melt your peanut butter, stirring until smooth. I nuked mine in the microwave for 30 seconds, gave it a stir and put it back in for another 30 seconds. Layer half of the peanut butter over that non-buttered top sheet of dough (there is oil in the peanut butter, so the butter isn't necessary there). You could use a pastry brush, but I found that pouring the peanut butter and spreading it with the back of a spoon worked better.
- Lay two sheets of dough over the peanut butter layer, brush with butter and repeat with a few more layers - yes, buttering the top this time.
- Pulse together the chocolate and peanuts in your food processor to break down a bit and sprinkle half over that top layer of dough.
- Now repeat the whole thing - add a few layers, then peanut butter - add a few layers, butter, then chocolate/nuts, until you reach the top of your pan or run out of dough.
- I usually make huge trays of Paklava and cut them into diamonds, but since I was using a small square pan this time, I took the easy route and went with triangles. Slice corner to corner, rotate and slice from the opposite corner to corner, then side to side ...
- Bake at 350 until golden. The time will vary with your pan, etc., but one way to check if it's done is to use a fork or the tip of a knife to lift a few layers of dough. If the top is dark, but the layers beneath are still on the raw side, top with foil and let bake a little longer.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely - because you used chocolate, you will want to re-cut your lines before proceeding with the syrup, since chocolate will have melted and filled in the cuts. You want to make sure the syrup can flow throughout.
- In a small pot, stir together the sugar and water and let come up to a boil. Squeeze in a teaspoon or two of lemon juice and continue to boil for a minute or two, then pour or spoon evenly over the cooled Paklava.
- I don't like my Paklava cloyingly syrupy sweet, so I like to sort of flood it with syrup, then remove one corner piece and tilt the tray toward that corner. That way, I can scoop up the syrup that drains into the corner and spoon it over any missed spots, then drain away the excess.
- Optional - decorate the top with chopped peanuts, shaved chocolate, drizzled chocolate ...
This shot was two days later and just the way I like it - everything
had dried out some, so it was still sweet, but not all drippy gooey.