Do not miss trying the best Lebanese Atayef recipe, the famous Middle Eastern pancakes stuffed with ashta, walnuts, or cheese.
You may like regular pancakes, but did you try Atayef, famously known as Middle Eastern pancakes? If you have been to Lebanon, or any Arab country, especially around December or the month of Ramadan, then chances are high are you have tried these delicious Lebanese sweets.
In the Middle East, Atayef is mostly prepared to commemorate two occasions. The first is the feast of Saint Barbara celebrated on December 4, while the second last for a month-long, the holy month of Ramadan.
So, in a nutshell, what is Atayef?
Atayef is a Lebanese or widely Middle Eastern dessert mostly renowned as Lebanese pancakes. It is filled with a variety of fillings such as Ashta cream, nuts, or cheese. These sweets are then served raw if filled with Ashta or fried/baked if filled with cheese or nuts and finally dipped into the sugar syrup.
First, prepare the dough. This includes activating the yeast as a start. Then mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and add the yeast mixture. Finally, combine all ingredients to have a smooth batter. The batter must be covered and set to rest for half 15-30 minutes before using.
Next, you need to cook the atayef using a non-stick pan. Make sure to heat well the pan before pouring in the batter. Wait for 2 minutes, until you see a lot of bubbles before taking the atayef out of the pan.
Make sure to store the atayef between two folds of a tea towel to become soft as they cool down.
If you are preparing atayef Asafiri, then you need to stuff it with Ashta cream.
To prepare the Ashta cream, combine milk and sugar in a pan. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved then add semolina. Once the milk starts to thicken, add rose water and stir until you reach the cream consistency.
For walnuts or cheese filling, combine the ingredients of each filling then start stuffing the atayef.
Stuffing atayef is not a big deal, especially if you have saved the atayef covered with a tea towel. They will be easy to fold and stick well when closed.
Place one atayef o the palm of your hand, then spoon a little of the desired filling and fold it into a half-moon shape.
If you are making atayef asafiri, you will not need to close it fully, unlike cheese and walnut atayef, which should be well sealed to be cooked.
Pinch the edges with your fingers so that they stick well together.
Attention not to overfill the atayef as they will be cracked afterward.
Fried: To fry the atayef, heat first the vegetable oil, then dip in the atayef and fry until you see that the edges started to become gold and crunchy.
Baked: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the atayef on parchment paper in a baking tray and bake them until they become gold and crunchy.
Drizzle sugar syrup over the atayef and serve.
Atayef Asafiri or Atayef b ashta (filled with ashta cream). This type of Atayef is neither fried nor baked. Once the atayef pancake is ready, it is filled with ashta cream and partially closed. It is then decorated with ground pistachios.
Atayef with nuts: This type of atayef can be served fried or baked. Although ground walnuts are the common kind of nuts used to fill the atayef, you can always choose your preferred kind of nuts as a filling.
Atayef with cheese: Just like atayef with nuts, the atayef with cheese are as well baked or fried. As for the cheese, halloumi or ricotta cheese are the best options to use as a filling.
For more details on how to make these atayef, watch this video:
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Do you like desserts? Check out these recipes:
The best Lebanese Atayef
For the dough:
For the walnut filling:
For the cheese filling:
For the ashta filling:
For the dough:
To prepare the ashta cream:
For walnuts & cheese filling: