1 box of phyllo dough (I've never seen an un-vegan brand, but check to be sure)
1 jar of your favorite peanut butter (or experiment with another nut butter)
strawberry jelly and blackberry jelly (or any combination of preserves you like)
regular vegan sugar (turbinado works well)
spray can of vegan cooking spray (I used the spectrum cooking spray with butter flavor)
a 12 inch rectangular baking pan
a damp towel
agave nectar (optional)
shredded coconut (optional)
I was watching Take Home Chef on TLC and was inspired to make this dessert. Curtis had made baklava for the first time and I figured if a seasoned chef could do it, so could I. I was in a peanut butter mood (which happens often) and I had some ripe bananas I didn't want to toss, and thus, PB and J Banaklava was born!
1. Let the phyllo dough sit on your kitchen counter for three to five hours. It's ready to use when the sheets don't stick to each other when you try to separate them.
2. Before you get started, make sure everything is in place.
3. Microwave the nut butter for no more than 30 seconds to warm it up a bit. This will make it easier to spread.
4. Unroll the phyllo dough gently and place the damp towel on top of it. Whenever you're not working with the dough, make sure it's covered with the towel.
5. Spray the bottom of the pan with the spray and lay down a sheet of phyllo dough. Spray that sheet of dough and layer another sheet on top of it. You should have three layers for your base. Also, you can sprinkle sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon between the dough layers.
6. Spray that top sheet and spread the peanut butter all over it. Next, spread one of the preserves (I did blackberry) on top of the peanut butter . Sprinkle coconut on top of the jelly. Cut the banana into thin disks and scatter them on top of the jelly. Sprinkle brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon on top.
7. Layer three sheets of dough on top of the filling. Be sure to spray between the sheets!
8. Repeat step six, but with the other jelly (or the same one if you like). I used strawberry here.
9. Layer three sheets of dough on top of this . Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, brown sugar and sugar. Make sure to spray the top sheet as well.
10. You must cut the dessert before putting it into the oven. If you want it to look like classic baklava, cut the pan into eight squares. Then, cut those squares in half.
*IMPORTANT* When cutting, don't cut all the way to the bottom. Pour about two tablespoons of agave nectar on top. Since you didn't cut all the way to the bottom, the nectar will absorb into the dessert, not stick to the bottom of your pan.
I have no problem bragging about how big of a hit this recipe was! Everyone loved it. There is a lot of room for experimentation so have at it!
Here are some combos I want to try:
-PB (or hazelnut butter), bananas, coconut and chocolate chips
-cashew butter, apricot preserves and coconut
-pumpkin and chocolate chips