Sweet pancakes with clotted cream aka Qatayef aka Atayef is an extremely popular dessert in the Arab world. This dessert is famous all throughout the Middle East but especially popular during the month of Ramadan.
The same dough is made for both versions of Qatayef. One is eaten right off the griddle and the other is stuffed, fried, then soaked in simple syrup.
While Atayef are extremely popular during the month of Ramadan they are not readily consumed any other time of year. It’s rare to eat Atayef unless its during Ramadan and during Ramadan its something you will see on an Iftar table almost every single day. There are many bakeries and local shops that now sell the dough ready made and all you have to do is stuff and fry them.
The problem with purchasing them ready made is
1) they are usually sold out because EVERYONE wants atayef during ramadan
2) you have to stuff them and freeze them or eat them right away or else they are inedible.
This recipe that a Syrian American food blogger shared with me was so easy to follow that it was hard to mess it up. She has step by step instructions on her highlights https://www.instagram.com/duaacooks/
I make pancakes using this recipe almost every single day for my kids which encouraged me to try Atayef on my own as its so similar. It couldn’t be easier. Make sure to let the mixture sit for at least an hour (I made the mistake of letting my impatience get the best of me the first time around and you don’t want to do that). When you pour it onto the griddle or pan make sure not to use any butter or spray on the pan. It should pour directly onto the pan or griddle. Heat up the pan or griddle first on medium to low heat so its not burning but still hot. Once the bubbles start forming, it means its almost done cooking. Remember this is only cooking on ONE SIDE. Unlike a pancake which is flipped over, this only cooked on one side.
The best part is they freeze so well so you can make a big batch and freeze for up to a month.
Sweet Pancakes with clotted cream or cinnimon spiced walnuts soaked in simple syrup
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbs sugar
- Add all ingredients into a blender starting with the water
- Let it rest for 1 hour
- Heat a griddle or pan and when hot pour less then 1/4 cup directly onto the pan. Do NOT use any pam spray, butter or oil.
- Do NOT flip over. Must be cooked on one side. Once it bubbles and completely cooks remove from pan
- Wait 20 seconds before covering it with a towel so it does not dry out
- Version #1
Stuff it with cream (see below), garnish with pistachio and drizzle simple syrup (see below)
- Version #2
Stuff it with either cheese filling (see below) or walnut filling (see below)
- Close it into a semi circle shape
- Fry it until golden brown (longer if you like it crispier)
While hot, immediately soak it in simple syrup (see below)
Serve while hot
Atayef can be stuffed with a variety of cheeses but I found this filling to be easy and delicious. The right amount of creaminess with cheesiness makes for a very tasty atayef.
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Mix together with a fork
This cream is used with the Atayef dough that is not fried. It has hints of rose water and a creamy consistency
- 2 cups or 16 oz heavy cream
- 3 tbs corn starch
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs rose water *optional
- Off heat mix heavy cream and corn starch until no more lumps exist *about 2-5 mins
- Once all lumps are removed put over medium heat and add sugar until cream is thick and creamy
- Add rose water if desired at the end
- Remove from heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes or so
- Put in the fridge for an hour until it all holds
This walnut filling is intended to be stuffed inside the Atayef dough, then fried and soaked in syup.
- 2 cups walnut crushed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Mix together
*Cinnamon and cardamon are optional
This simple syrup is used for a variety of Arab desserts
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 tsp orange blossom or rose water optional
- Bring to a boil
- Once it boils let it continue boiling for 10 minutes