Qatayef is a special dessert commonly served during Ramadan. Sometimes called Arabic pancakes, the word qatayef refers to the batter being poured over a hot pan or griddle. The dough is typically cooked on one side, filled either with sweet cheese or a combination of nuts and then fried.
- To make the pancakes:
- 1/2 teaspoon instant active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (approximately 110 F)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (wheat flour can also be used)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 1 cup walnuts (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
- For the syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup orange blossom or rose water
- 1/3 cup warm water
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in water inside the measuring cup for 10 minutes or until it proofs (become frothy). If your yeast does not proof, it means the yeast is bad or the water was not warm enough or too hot. Remember that yeast is a live organism and needs the proper environment to work properly!
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast and sugar water mixture. Combine well, cover, and allow to sit in a warm area for 30 to 45 minutes.
While the pancake mix is proofing, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the walnuts with the sugar. Add the orange blossom water if desired. Cover and set aside.
This is now a good time to prepare the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and add the orange blossom or rose water. Stir well to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat to low and allow to sit until ready to use.
Preheat a griddle or frying pan to medium-high heat. Using a ladle, make a five-inch pancake with the batter. Once the batter begins to bubble on top, remove the pancake from griddle and set aside. Do not flip, as you are only cooking one side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Preheat one inch of oil in a frying pan to medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, take one tablespoon of nut filling and place it on top of the uncooked side of the pancake. Fold the pancake in half to make a half moon shape and seal the edges by pressing together. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and filling.
Fry on each side until a light golden brown color (about 15 to 30 seconds each side). Drain on a towel-lined plate.
Drizzle the syrup generously over the qatayef and serve immediately.