Thursday, 3 February 2011

Oven baked Ataif (cheese or nuts filling) قطايف في الفرن

Ataif is one of the sweets associated with Ramadan in the Middle East. Most people in the Middle East buy ready made pancakes from bakeries and finish the last stages at home as it is best eaten on the same day. Long time ago one of my Lebanese friends used to bring trays full of this sweet to our local mosque (Aberdeen Scotland) during the month of Ramadan. It was so popular that the tray was gone in a flash. My dear Lebanese friend left few years ago, but we are again enjoying them from her young but talented daughter in law.

I experimented with 3 Ataif recipes as some recipes use yeast and others use a mixture of Semolina and flour. My friend F. advised me to use flour (only) and baking powder to avoid having holes in the outside surface of the pancakes.

I also baked the Ataif instead of frying them and my husband who likes them fried thinks the result is very nice.

In memory of my Lebanese friend, I took some of it to the mosque at the week end for the ladies study circle.


2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups all-purpose flour

Cheese Filling:
1 tbsp per pancake ricotta cheese

Nut Filling:
2 cups ground walnuts or pistachios
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios or walnuts

Oil for brushing or frying


1.      Make syrup in a heavy saucepan by melting sugar in water and boiling the liquid for 10 to 15 minutes until the syrup is thick enough to coat a cold metal spoon.
2.      Turn off the heat and stir in the orange flower water and the lemon juice

1.      Mix all the ingredients in an electric blender and blend until you have a smooth batter. You might have to use a spoon to check if any flour is still sticking to the bottom of the blender.
2.      Leave mixture to rest for 15 to 30 minutes. You will see that bubbles are forming on the surface
3.      Lightly oil a heavy frying pan or griddle, and turn up the heat to high, until the pan is thoroughly heated. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a steady temperature. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into the pan and fry the pancake until small bubbles form on the surface. Remove the pancake to a platter and continue until the batter is all used up.
4.      Spoon a tablespoon of filling (ricotta cheese or nut filling) onto the uncooked centre of each pancake.
5.      Fold the pancake over the filling and pinch gently around the edges so that they will stick together.
6.      Cook the filled pancakes on a oiled baking tray (brush the surface of the pancakes with oil as well) for 30 minutes in a preheated oven (200ºC) until it is golden and crunchy
7.      You can also deep fry them
8.      Dip the hot pancakes into the cold syrup, remove with a slotted spoon, and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.



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