No matter else could have been occurring in our lives, when it got here time to rejoice the holy month of Ramadan, we might at all times depend on having atayef. We made the festive little pancakes two methods: full of nuts, folded, fried, and served scorching; or pinched into cone-shaped pockets and crammed with ashta—chilled, sweetened clotted cream—and pistachios. Until, that’s, my youngest sister, Manal, occurred to be close by. She liked to drag the atayef straight from the pan and pop them into her mouth earlier than they may even attain the pot of oil for frying or the fridge for cooling.

Once I trade tales with different Arabs from the Levant, this dish, greater than another, represents Ramadan for us. Cooked on just one aspect, and porous with good, tiny, crumpet-like bubbles, atayef are velvety-soft receptacles for the filling and syrup to return. Recipe and method are equally vital right here: it’s all about getting seal by preserving the pancakes moist earlier than pinching them closed. The elements could every be ready forward of time for fast meeting earlier than serving. (I like to recommend making home made ashta, since store-bought variations are usually too runny and don’t maintain as nicely within the pancakes.) If you happen to plan to make each fillings, double the amount of pancake batter and blossom syrup.

Featured in “Rediscovering Communal Ramadan Meals Introduced Me Again To My Goal As a Chef.”

This recipe is tailored with permission from Arabiyya: Recipes from the Lifetime of an Arab in Diaspora by Reem Assil, copyright © 2022. Revealed by Ten Pace Press, an imprint of Penguin Random Home.” Images copyright © 2022 by Alanna Hale. 

Atayef (Walnut- or Clotted Cream–Crammed Pancakes)

For Arabs from the Levant, “this dish, greater than another, represents Ramadan,” writes chef Reem Assil.

Yield: makes 24


3 hours

For the ashta variation:

  • 4 cups complete milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp. contemporary lemon juice, plus extra as wanted
  • 1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. orange blossom water
  • 1½ tsp. rosewater
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cups roasted pistachios, finely chopped

For the walnut variation:

  • 2 cups (6½ oz.) walnuts
  • ¼ cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. floor cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater
  • 1 tbsp. contemporary lemon juice

For the blossom syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater

For the pancakes:

  • 1½ tsp. active-dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cups semolina flour
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups complete milk
  • 2 giant eggs
  • Vegetable oil or different impartial oil, for frying


  1. Make the ashta filling: Line a positive mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Set near the range.
  2. To a medium pot over medium warmth, add the milk and cook dinner, stirring often, till it simply barely involves a boil. Instantly stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the lemon juice, vinegar, and the orange blossom and rosewater. The milk ought to instantly start to interrupt into curds. Flip down the warmth to the bottom setting, then, utilizing a slotted spoon, switch all the curds from the floor of the liquid into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Take away the pot from the warmth. (Reserve the whey for an additional use).
  3. In the identical pot, whisk collectively the cream, cornstarch, and the remaining sugar. Set over medium warmth and convey to a boil, whisking often, till the combination thickens, about 4 minutes. Take away from the warmth, then whisk within the strained curds, discarding the cheesecloth and reserving any collected whey which will have gathered within the bowl for an additional use. If the clotted cream combination is lumpy, move it by means of the fine-mesh sieve and into the bowl, then cowl the floor with a sheet of plastic wrap to forestall a pores and skin from forming. Switch to the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour earlier than utilizing or retailer in an hermetic container for as much as 1 week.
  4. Make the walnut filling: In a meals processor, mix the walnuts, sugar, coconut, and cinnamon and pulse to make a positive crumble. Drizzle within the orange blossom and rosewaters and pulse briefly simply till evenly moistened. (Keep away from overprocessing or a paste will kind.) Switch the combination to a medium bowl and put aside.
  5. Make the blossom syrup: To a clear medium pot set over medium warmth, add the sugar, lemon juice, and 1 cup of water. Convey to a boil, stirring often, till the sugar has dissolved. Decrease the warmth to take care of a simmer, and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till the liquid thickens to a syrup that coats the again of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir within the remaining orange blossom and rosewaters and cook dinner for 3 minutes extra. Take away from the warmth and put aside to chill to room temperature. (The syrup could also be saved in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 3 months.)
  6. In the meantime make the pancake batter: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1½ cups of heat (about 100°F) water; put aside till the combination is frothy, about 5 minutes.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk collectively the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, put aside. In a big bowl, whisk collectively the milk, eggs, and the reserved yeast combination, then whisk within the flour combination to make a easy batter. Put aside at room temperature bubbly, about half-hour, or switch to an hermetic container and refrigerate for as much as 24 hours.
  8. Fry the pancakes: Set a big baking sheet subsequent to the range together with a clear dish towel. Evenly oil a big skillet and set over medium-high warmth. As soon as scorching, ladle a ¼ cup of batter onto the pan and swirl to kind a 6-inch pancake. Prepare dinner till the underside begins to brown, bubbles kind on high, and the gloss on the batter disappears, about 2 minutes. With out flipping, use a skinny spatula to switch the pancake, cooked-side-down, to the baking sheet. Cowl with the dish towel as you proceed cooking the remainder of the batter (as soon as the pancakes are cool, they could be stacked).
  9. If assembling the ashta atayef: Convey the perimeters of a pancake collectively to kind a half-moon form, then pinch one aspect to seal and kind a cone. Repeat, shaping and pinching all the pancakes. Fill every one with 2–3 tablespoons of the reserved ashta, then switch to the fridge for a minimum of half-hour and as much as 2 hours.
  10. When able to serve, set a wire rack over a big rimmed baking sheet and place it by your work floor. One-by-one, press the open cream-side of every chilled atayef into the pistachios and switch to the baking sheet. Drizzle the pastries with the reserved sugar syrup, switch to a serving platter and serve chilly.
  11. If assembling walnut atayef: Convey the perimeters of a pancake collectively to kind a half-moon form, then pinch one aspect to seal and kind a cone. Repeat, shaping and pinching all the pancakes. Spoon 2 tablespoons of walnut filling into every cone and pinch to seal the pancake into an enclosed pocket.
  12. Set a wire rack over a big rimmed baking sheet and place it by the range. Line a big plate with paper towels and place that by the range as nicely. Fill a small bowl with the pistachios.
  13. Match a heavy-bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer and add oil to a depth of three inches. Prepare dinner over medium warmth till the oil reaches 350°F. Fry two half-moons at a time, cooking till brown and crisp on either side, about 4 minutes complete. Utilizing tongs or a slotted spoon, switch to the paper-towel-lined plate whilst you proceed frying the remainder of the pastries. Briefly dunk the nice and cozy atayef within the reserved blossom syrup, then switch to the wire rack. As soon as the syrup has been absorbed, switch the atayef to a serving platter and serve heat or at room temperature.



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