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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings (about 22 pancakes)
Qatayef are classic Middle Eastern sweet dumplings that are a staple for the holy month of Ramadan. Families around the world make these sweet treats every year and enjoy them with different fillings. There are two types of qatayef: regular and qatayef asafiri. The regular qatayef are filled with nuts or sweet cheese, then fried and soaked in syrup. Qatayef asafiri are filled with cream, topped with pistachios and drizzled with syrup. This recipe is for regular qatayef, with both a walnut filling and a sweet cheese one.


Qatayef Batter:



Frying and Topping:


  1. For the qatayef batter: Put the flour, powdered milk, sugar, instant yeast and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly add 1 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F) to the dry ingredients, mixing as you go. Whisk very well and make sure there are no lumps. The batter will be pourable and not too thick. If the batter is thick, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of warm water and mix again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter sit at room temperature until it has bubbles on the surface and smells yeasty, about 30 minutes.
  2. For the syrup: Meanwhile, put the sugar, rosewater and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a rolling boil, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, undisturbed. The consistency will be like pancake syrup. Set aside so the syrup comes to room temperature.
  3. Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat. Whisk the batter very well. Measure about 2 tablespoons of the batter per pancake and pour into the pan. Cook the pancakes on one side only, without flipping, until the tops are dry with many bubbles and the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the pancakes pale-side up to a baking sheet or large platter in a single layer, making sure not to stack them. Cover the pancakes with a clean kitchen towel. Continue with the remaining batter. Let the pancakes cool completely before filling, keeping them covered to avoid drying out.
  4. For the fillings: To make the walnut filling, mix the walnuts with the sugar, cinnamon and coconut, if using.
  5. To fill the pancakes, hold one pancake pale-side up and add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the walnut or cheese filling (or enough for the pancake to fold and seal easily). Fold the pancake and pinch the edges very well to seal completely. Place the stuffed pancake on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and walnut and cheese fillings.
  6. For the frying and topping: Add enough oil to a medium cast-iron pan to come about 2 inches up the sides. Heat over medium heat until the oil registers 350 degrees F. Add a few of the qatayef and fry until golden, about 2 minutes on each side (see Cook's Note). Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. While they’re still hot, add them to the pan with the syrup and toss them around to coat completely. Transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) to drain. Repeat with the remaining qatayef and syrup.
  7. Arrange the qatayef on a platter and top with ground pistachios and crushed rose petals.

Cook’s Note

If you like your qatayef softer, fry them for only 1 minute on each side; the longer you fry them, the crispier they become. Qatayef are always best served fresh or within a few hours of making. If the whole batch is too much, freeze half of the stuffed pancakes before frying. When you’re ready to serve, fry them while they’re still frozen.

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