Homemade Atayef Recipe
Atayef (or qatayef) is a Middle Eastern dessert that resembles mini pancakes (only without eggs), and we only serve them during the Holy month of Ramadan. Atayef are shared among all Arab countries, and we make them with some differences. You can stuff them with nuts or fresh cream and drench them in Arabic sweet syrup. That is slightly different than simple syrup as it has a thicker consistency, and in some countries, they add orange blossom or rose water to the syrup.
Something that is not very common, but I’ve seen in my husband’s family, is that they serve the atayef as a savory dish with the iftar meal, so if you would like to try that, I’ve skipped adding sugar to the batter. You can stuff the atayef with any cheeses such as cheddar, feta, and add olives, etc. Of course, you will also skip the syrup.
I will show you how to make atayef batter from scratch, fill them with nuts, fried, and drenched in syrup. It’s a lot of work, but the results are so good! Golden and crunchy on the outside, with a delicious filling of nuts, a hint of coconut, and cinnamon.
If you want a shortcut, you can always buy the fresh atayef ready dough. In all the Arab countries, you can easily find them in most grocery stores. And go ahead straight for the filling of your choice.
Atayef With Nuts
For the atayef batter
- 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup water room temperature
For the Arabic sweet syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
For the nuts stuffing
- 1/2 cup almonds chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the batter
- In a small bowl or measuring cup add the yeast and sugar to the warm milk. Mix until dissolved and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- In a bigger bowl mix all the dry ingredients together, the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the milk mixture and combine.
- Add 3/4 cup of water gradually and mix until the batter is free of lumps.
- Let the mixture sit in a warm place for 30 - 45 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat and add 1 - 2 spoonsful of batter to the pan. Once the surface of the qatayef dries up remove it from the pan gently. Do not flip them over.
For making the syrup
- Put all the ingredients together in a saucepan without getting any of the sugar on the walls of the pan. Do not stir.
- Heat the pan until it boils then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.
For stuffing the atayef
- Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- Put approximately 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into the atayef making sure that it’s loosely packed and not overfilled otherwise the dough will tear or burst while frying.
- Fold the atayef to close it in the shape of half a circle.
- Pinch the edges all around the atayef, making sure it’s well sealed.
- Once you fill all the atayef you can fry them in vegetable oil or in an air-fryer. And as soon as they are cooked put them in the syrup for a few minutes and drain before serving.
- Make sure you let the batter rest for 30 – 45 minutes before cooking.
- Use a non-stick pan for cooking.
- Heat the pan to medium-high heat and don’t use any oil in the pan.
- Add 1-2 tablespoon-full at a time to make small round shapes.
- Do not flip the atayef over, you will know that they’re done once the top surface is dried up and don’t have any wet batter anymore.
- When making the sugar syrup, try not to get any of the sugar on the walls of the saucepan so it doesn't crystallize and ruin the syrup.
- Gently add the water and do not stir.
- For the stuffing, you can replace almonds with any nuts you prefer.