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Pineapple Cheese Baklava

This won a $25,000 prize in the National Pineapple Cooking Contest a number of years ago.

1 (1 pound 4 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese
8 sheets filo dough
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Combine the cheeses, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, lemon rind and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat with mixer until smooth. Stir in drained pineapple.

Butter a 12 x 9-inch baking pan and place one sheet filo in it. Butter the filo. Repeat with three more sheets filo, buttering each. Spoon pineapple-cheese mix over and spread until level. Cover with remaining four sheets of filo, buttering each. Mark pastry into diamonds and bake for 50 minutes, or until golden.

Combine 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice with remaining sugar and lemon juice and cook to a thick syrup. When baklava is baked, spoon hot syrup evenly over the top. Cool.

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