Atayef or Qatayef are Middle Eastern pancakes filled with white cheese or nuts then soaked in a rose sugary syrup. They are only made and served during the Holy month of Ramadan. Here’s a detailed recipe to make Atayef from scratch.
Have you ever tried this amazing Ramadani Middle Eastern desserts? Called Atayef, qatayef, gatayef, or even kataief. These desserts are only served during the holy month of Ramadan in the Middle East and that’s what makes them so special! There is something wonderful about dishes that are only served during holidays or special times, and atayef pancakes mean Ramadan.
WHAT ARE ATAYEF?
HOW TO MAKE ATAYEF FROM SCRATCH?
OUR TRIP TO THE LOCAL BAKERY IN JORDAN
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ATAYEF
- Regular Atayef: they’re usually bigger in size, crunchy from the outside, filled with either nuts (Walnuts, pistachios, or almonds) with cinnamon, or with white cheese (Ricotta can work) and then deep fried and soaked in (or drizzled with) a sugary rose water syrup or less commonly is baked with a little bit of oil and then drizzled with the syrup.
- Atayef Asafiri (or mini Atayef): they’re usually smaller in size, and have a soft exterior, served without cooking or frying, and are commonly filled with cream and pistachios. Fillings for this kind of atayef can be fun, you can stuff them with Nutella, fresh fruits, nut butter, you name it!
- Giant Atayef: they’re huge (see picture above), usually filled with cream and nuts, but it can also be stuffed with white cheese and then drizzled with sugary syrup!
HOW TO MAKE ATAYEF – Step by step tutorial
White cheese – traditionally we use cow’s white cheese, but you could also use ricotta with a little bit of sugar and rose water.
Walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar.
Or, almonds, cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar.
HOW TO STUFF THE ATAYEF?
To stuff the Atayef, hold each pancake with your hand then add 1-2 tbsp of filling (but do not overstuff them) then fold the atayef so it looks like half a moon and then press the edges together to seal.
Using your fingers keep sealing the edges but make sure that the amount of stuffing is just right. It shouldn’t be overfilled, as that can lead into popped atayef while they’re being fried or baked.
Keep going until the whole pancake is now sealed with enough filling inside.
Each piece will look like half moon, and now it’s ready to be cooked.
Atayef can be either fried or less commonly baked.
To fry: heat corn oil (about 1cm) on a pan, then start dropping the stuffed Atayef and fry until the edges are slightly golden brown and crunchy, remove from pan and soak them in the sugar syrup for a few seconds (or drizzle them with it).
To bake: place on a cookie baking sheet, then brush the Atayef with corn oil. Bake on 200c (390f) until golden and crunchy. Drizzle with the sugary syrup and serve.
THE ROSE SUGAR SYRUP
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Atayef (Middle Eastern pancakes)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- To prepare the mixture, place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- Mix all liquid ingredients together, then gradually add the mixture to the dry mixture and whisk to ensure that the mixture is properly mixed.
- Place bowl in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth and allow batter to rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, then pour the batter using a spoon to make circles. (for small Atayef pour 1 tbsp of batter, for medium sized ones add 2tbsp, and 1/4 cup for the large ones)
- The Atayef will start bubbling but make sure that you get loads of bubbles because if you don't, then it means that you didn't make the right consistency. Fix this by adding more water to the batter as it might be too thick. Each piece should take about 1-2 minutes until they're done, but this depends on the size of the Atayef.
- When the last drop on the surface dries and isn't shiny anymore, this means that the Atayef is done. Remove from pan immediately.
- Transfer to a tea towel, but make sure that you fold down the towel to cover the Atayef, otherwise they will dry out really quickly which can lead to Atayef that are difficult to fold and seal.
- Stuff the Atayef with the filling that you choose (cheese, walnuts, almonds, etc...) then either fry or bake them as explained above. Dip in syrup or just drizzle with it (for better results, soak warm Atayef in cold syrup)
- For vegan Atayef omit the milk and add water instead.
- You can freeze the Atayef in a plastic bag, they can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Nutritional values are a rough estimate per 1 pancake without any fillings.