Regular Atayef (Middle Eastern pancakes)

Ramadan Kareem to all of my amazing readers that observe the holy month of Ramadan!
Today I’m sharing with you an amazing Ramadani Middle Eastern dessert that is only served during the holy month of Ramadan in the Middle East! There is something wonderful about dishes that are only served during holidays or special times! And once you try the Atayef – you will fall in love! I can guarantee you that!

Atayef (Qatayef قطايف) are usually prepared by street vendors in the streets of Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt. They are also sold in bakeries nowadays, and some people prepare them at home. They’re very popular, it’s like you MUST have Atayef during Ramadan 🙂
Atayef are very similar to pancakes, they’re made with flour, semolina, yeast, milk, baking powder, salt, sugar and you can also add vanilla or rose water if you like. They’re usually fried on a non stick pan with no oil, but only fried from on side and folded which is very interesting because they’re just like thin pancakes with 2 sides, one is lace like, and the other side is velvety since it’s not fried on that side and is filled with bubbles!
So today me and my Mum went to a local bakery in Madaba, Jordan – to watch how traditional Atayef are made! It was very interesting because I got to see the technique and how the baker was working with great skill and speed.

Mutaz (the guy in the red) was making regular Atayef, I don’t know how he did it but all of them were exactly the same size! and then Tareq (the guy in the white) showed me how to make a giant Atayef!! I mean, how awesome is that?! I’m going to try and make this at home but then I need a giant pan to fit! The giant Atayef are stuffed with cream and are not folded, they just cover one with another piece. 
There are three kinds of Atayef:
  1. 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.
  2. 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, butter, you name it!
  3. Giant Atayef: they’re huge (look at picture above), usually filled with cream and nuts, but it can also be stuffed with white cheese and then drizzled with sugary syrup!
The technique is very important, it is very simple but you have to read the instructions carefully to understand it. You may need 1/2 – 1/4 cup more or less in the recipe that i’m sharing with you as it depends on what kind of flour and semolina you’re using. The batter is sort of thin but the best way to know if you need to add more water or not is by cooking your first atayef. If you get loads of bubbles that means that your batter is perfect, but if you don’t then you may need to add more water to the mixture.This is a common mistake when it comes to making Atayef (see picture below – not enough bubbles).
To prepare the mixture, place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add the liquid ingredients gradually to the dry mixture and whisk to insure that the mixture is properly mixed. Place in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth, allow your batter to rest for 15-30 minutes. 

Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, then pour the batter using a spoon (for small Atayef pour 1 tbsp of batter, for medium sized ones add 2tbsp, and 1/4 cup for 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 your batter is too thick. Each piece should take about 1-2 minutes until they’re done but that depends on the size of the atayef. When the last drop on the surface dries and stops being shiny, it means that they’re done (remove from pan immediatly). Transfer to a tea towel but make sure that you fold down the towel to cover, otherwise they will dry out really quickly (which can lead to Atayef that are difficult to fold and seal). 
You will also notice that the Atayef will get softer once they cool down, which is good because then they will be easier to fold and seal while you stuff them. If you don’t want to fill them right away, you can store them in an air tight container or a plastic bag to avoid drying, but I highly recommend that you stuff them in the same day.

Filling suggestions

1. White cheese – for example ricotta with a little bit of sugar and rose water.
2. Walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar.
3. Almonds, cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar.

To stuff the Atayef, hold each pancake with your hand then add 1-2 tbsp of filling (but do not over stuff them) then fold the atayef so it looks like half a moon and press the edges together to seal.
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 sugary 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 until golden and crunchy. Drizzle with the sugary syrup.
The Syrup

Ingredients: 1 cup water, 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp rose water, 1 tsp corn syrup (optional).
Instructions: bring the water and sugar to boil then add the lemon juice, mix well. Lower the heat then leave it on low heat for 10 minutes. After you remove it from heat, add the rose water then let it cool completely before using.
I hope that this post will help you make perfect Atayef. If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and tell me how did they turn out. Enjoy! 🙂
Recipe is adapted from the amazing Chef Daad Azar Abujaber
Atayef Recipe
Serves: 30 pieces
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. To prepare the mixture, place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  2. Mix all liquid ingredients together, then gradually add the mixture to the dry mixture and whisk to ensure that the mixture is properly mixed.
  3. Place bowl in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth and allow batter to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. When the last drop on the surface dries and isn’t shiny anymore, this means that the Atayef is done. Remove from pan immediately.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

وصفة عجينة القطايف
المكونات:
١ كوب طحين
نصف كوب سميد (ناعم أو خشن)
كوب ماء
نصف كوب حليب
ملعقة صغيرة بايكنغ باودر
نصف ملعقة صغيرة خميرة فورية
٢ ملعقة كبيرة سكر
٢ ملعقة صغيرة فانيلا
رشة ملح
طريقة التحضير:
  1. في وعاء نخلط جميع المكونات الجافة معاً وفي وعاء آخر نخلط المكونات السائلة جيداً.
  2. نضيف المزيج السائل الى المكونات الجافة بشكل تدريجي مع التخليط جيداً. يجب أن تكون العجينة سائلة أن يكون صبها سهل لنجاح الوصفة.
  3. نغطي الوعاء بقطعة قماش ونضعه في مكان دافي لمدة ١٥-٣٠ دقيقة.
  4. نحمي المقلاة على حرارة متوسطة ونصب العجينة باستخدام ابريق أو ملعقة. لعمل قطايف عصافيري نحتاج ملعقة كبيرة من العجين. وللقطايف الكبيرة ربع كوب معياري.
  5. ستظر الفقاعات على الوجه (إذا كان عددها قليل هذا يعني أن علينا أن نضيف ماء إلى العجين)
  6. عندما تجف آخر فقاعة وأن الحبة أصبح لونها ذهبي من الأسفل هذا يعني أن الحبة جاهزة، ثم ننقلها الى قطعة قماش لتبرد وحتى لا تجف.
  7. يتم حشي القطايف فوراً ومن ثم تقلى أو تشوى. أو تغطى بكيس نايلون حتى يتم حشوها.
  8. تغطس القطايف بالقطر (يفضل أن يكون القطر بارد والقطايف ساخنة)
* يمكن حفظ القطايف في كيس نايلون وفي الفريزر لمدة ٣ اشهر.