Atayef or Qatayef is one of the most versatile sweet dishes in the middle eastern cuisine. Of course every country has adopted it and made it their own, especially with regards to the filling. Some only seal it halfway, fill it with homemade ashta (cream) or cheese, others do nutella or nut butters, in these cases you obviously don’t deep fry as the filling would come out in oil and no need to dip it in syrup either, instead you drizzle the honey on top and serve it just like that.
This recipe gives you the most beautiful dough and pancakes as a result no matter how you choose to have it.
In the photographs below, I used this recipe and filled them with the walnut and raisin mixture. They are a favourite in our home as that is how it’s made in Egypt and with my husband being egyptian that’s what he always asks for.
As for me, I love filling it with homemade ashta, mixed with mascapone, sugar and cinnamon. As far as I’m aware this is how Syrians make atayef and rightly so too because it is the most delicious way.
The reason you cannot just fill and fry atayef with shop bought cream or mascapone, it’s because the fat content in these products will run through the sealed atayef and they will open during the frying process.
A recipe for the homemade eshta is coming soon but for now, I hope you enjoy this recipe with whatever you choose to fill your atayef with.
Atayef – Middle Eastern Stuffed Pancakes
For the Filling
For the Syrup
In a large bowl mix the egg with water and milk, add the sugar, yeast and finally the flour.
Whisk until smooth, set aside for 20 to 30 minutes, covering the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth.
Meanwhile prepare the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a small pot, allow to simmer on low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to simmer some more until the syrup becomes a little sticky when tested between fingers.
Roughly grind the walnuts until they are smaller than the size of the raisins. Mix the chopped walnuts with sugar and raisins and the filling is prepared.
Preheat a nonstick pan and grease it using some kitchen roll that has been dipped in butter or oil.
Pour the batter quickly in the pan to form a small, even, round pancake. Allow to cook on low heat until you see los of small holes form on the side of the pancake facing up, and once that side is no longer wet, or as soon as the batter solidifies remove the pancake and set aside to cool down. So you have one side that has a beautiful golden caramel shade and the other is white/cream with lots of holes.
Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of the cream side with holes and fold into a half circle, bringing the two edges together, press the edges together to seal the Atayef closed.
Heat any frying oil and deep fry the sealed Atayef, and once fried and golden, soak in the syrup and serve.