Qatayef are stuffed Arabic pancakes, fried to perfection then dunked in simple syrup.

Qatayef – also referred to as katayef or atayef – is an Arabic sweet popularly served as a Ramadan dessert (along with Kunafa).

While it technically refers to the dumpling/pancake batter only, the full dessert consists of small semolina-yeast pancakes, usually filled with a sweetened cream (Ashta) or cinnamon-nut filling.

They are then either pinched together into a cone shape (qatayef asafari) or sealed entirely and fried (or baked) until crispy.

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Qatayef batter:

• 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour.

• 1 tsp (3g) dry yeast.

• 1 Tablespoon (14g) sugar.

• 1/2 teaspoon (1g) baking powder.

• 1 Tablespoon (6g) dry powdered milk.

• A pinch of salt.

• 1 3/4 (420 mL) cups of warm water.

• Oil for deep frying.

Thick simple syrup:

• 2 cups (400 g) sugar.

• 1 (240 mL) cup water.

• 1/4 cup (60 mL) honey

• 1 tsp lemon juice.

• A dash of vanilla powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Filling: nut mixture of your choice used about two cups mixed chopped nuts and raisins. (Almonds, pecan pistacho)

Garnish with chopped pistachio

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Make the syrup:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add syrup ingredients, stir a little then let it boil.

When it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Turn heat off and let it cool down to room temperature, it will thicken as it cools down.

Make the batter:

In a deep bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, add water and mix well. (Note1)

Cover and let it set for 30 minutes.

Stir the batter a bit to check consistency if it is too thick then add a tablespoon of water. Batter should be thinner than pancake
and not lumpy. (Note2)

Cook the pancakes:

Heat a griddle or a pan and scoop about 2 Tablespoons of the batter.

The batter will bubble at the surface and cooks, do not flip When the surface is longer wet remove and it is golden brown, remove from heat. (Note3)

Arrange qatayef bubble side up on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Set aside until you are finished with the rest of the batter.

Continue until you finish all the batter.

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Fill the pancakes:

Hold the pancakes bubble side up, fill with little over a teaspoon of the nut mixture.

Do not overfill as it will not close or tear and crack.

Fold pancakes in half and pinch the sides to firmly close. (Note4).

Frying the pancakes:

Heat oil for deep frying over medium heat.

For a crispy golden qatayef, fry for like 3 minutes on each side until they are dark golden brown.

If you want a softer qatayef, fry them until they are just light golden brown.

Take them out of oil place on a paper towel for 5-15 seconds then quickly dip them in the cooled syrup while they are still hot.

Toss to cover with syrup.

Take qatayef out and let them drip in a colander. The more you leave qatayef in the syrup, the more syrup it will soak and then it will become softer.

Recipe Notes

Note1: a recent tip from mom is to make this in your blender and this worked like a charm much better than a whisk.

Note2: most probably you’ll need to add from 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon of warm water to the batter to make it thinner.

I’ve tried with many flour brands and it always end this way.

Note3: It is somehow hard when you first make Qatayef to figure out the right temperature for you.

Too hot and it will be burnt, too low it will be pale and takes forever to cook.

Over the years my observation is go for the range from 285F to 320F.

I had t experiment with a couple before I figured out the right temperature. Mine was a notch less than 300F something like 295F.

Note4: You can at this point freeze stuffed pancakes on a parchment lined baking sheet for a couple of hours then place them in a ziplock and keep in the freezer. Fry directly from frozen, there is no need to thaw.

This makes Qatayef a very convenient make ahead dessert. It keeps for about 6 weeks in the freezer.


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