5 February 2016
This week's recipe is the result of a rather vague request made by one of my other vlogger acquaintances named Kev (a.k.a. JustKevYTP).
When I asked for people's input as to the recipes this season, not everyone was quite so specific (as you will likely see in coming entries) and Kev’s was simply "something with peanut butter in it". I did attempt to seek some clarification on this as these recipes are supposed to be "custom made" (i.e. sweet? savoury? food allergies? or other dietary issues?) but in the end made up my mind based on a snippet from one of his videos, and thus the idea was formed!
If you've never heard of it before, a Bakewell Tart (the inspiration for this recipe) is a traditional English confection consisting of a shortcrust pastry shell beneath layers of jam, frangipane and a topping of flaked almonds (thanks Wikipedia!). PB&J is the slang term for 'Peanut Butter & Jelly', a popular sandwich filling in USA and other parts of the world. Compare these two seemingly different foods side by side and you can't help but notice how similar they actually are, so why not combine them? *cue lightbulb*
With the number of people in the world - particularly those of us who like food (there's a few billion, I hear) - chances are that this idea has been attempted or done before by someone else. I typically don't research a lot of my spontaneous cooking ideas, so my apologies if this isn't new to you. But it's definitely new to me!
For those of you who are interested, please check out Kev's YouTube channel for an eclectic mix of vlogs, skits, and food challenges. Otherwise, we shall proceed to the cookery.
1x 325g jar of peanut butter
⅓ cup fruit jam
1 cup plain flour
1 ½ cups caster sugar
¼ cup flaked almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste/essence
Yes, I use a whole jar of peanut butter in this recipe. Kev wanted peanut butter? Well he GOT peanut butter! Although to be fair, it’s not a very big jar, and it replaces both the regular butter and almond meal used in a traditional Bakewell Tart. Plus, I use 100% natural peanut butter, which according to the ingredients on the jar contains only peanuts – not a single additive in sight! But you can use your favourite brand if you absolutely have to. I’d suggest smooth over crunchy, but it’s not really important.
And I know, I know, it should be JELLY instead of jam. Well, to that I say again: it’s not really important. I'm using jam not only because jelly isn't easily available in Australia, but also because it's easier to spread out over the crumbly base. But use jelly, or conserve, or fruit spread, or whatever you feel is best for you. Flavour also isn’t important; I used plum jam, but you might not like plums, so use strawberry, raspberry, apricot, blackberry, grape, cherry, or even marmalade!
Salt is optional because if you choose to use 100% natural peanut butter, it has no salt added. A little pinch takes some of the sweet edge off. You should consider this if you’re using a ‘salt reduced’ peanut butter too.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a brownie tin with baking paper (including the sides).
2. Place the flour, half of the sugar, and 175-200g of the peanut butter (approx. ⅔ of the jar) into a bowl and mix until it resembles damp sand. (It will look a bit dry at this point, but if you press some of it between your thumb and forefinger you’ll see that it clumps. TIP: If your peanut butter is really thick, I suggest resting the jar in some hot water for 5-10 minutes with the lid on until it becomes a bit runny. Because 100% natural peanut butter doesn’t contain any of the stabilisers that you’d find in regular peanut butter, it is runny enough on its own – another reason to consider it!)
3. Place the base mixture into the lined brownie tin and press it out firmly until you have an even layer across the bottom of the tin. (Make sure you get into the corners too!)
4. Spread the jam (or whatever you use) over the base until evenly coated. (Be a bit gentle, the base is a bit crumbly until you bake it.)
5. In a bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the remaining peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until light and fluffy.
6. Gently fold in the flaked almonds, then pour this mixture over the jam and base, ensuring that it spreads into the corners.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is set and begins to brown.
8. Allow to cool in the tin before slicing it into small squares.
9. Dust with icing sugar (optional) and serve!
Makes however many you cut it into. I usually get 36 out of a standard 20cmx20cm tin.
A video of this recipe is also available at - https://youtu.be/Pg8FntlEhQ4.
If you have a recipe to request, it's not too late! Please send me an email and I'll see what I can do.