Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ataif (Arab Pancakes)

Ataif alternately spelled qatayif are small yeast pancakes that are dipped in orange-blossom syrup and served with clotted cream(eishta) and garnished with chopped pistachios. They can also alternately be stuffed with nuts and unsalted white cheese and dipped in syrup.Ataif (qatayif) are traditionally eaten during Eid al-Fitr ,the breaking of the fast that marks the end of Ramadan and they also make an appearance at festivals and weddings.Ataif(qatayif) are very easy to make but most people usually buy them already prepared from bakeries and then take them home to prepare them according to thier preference.
Below is the recipe for ataif (qatayif).The recipe is fairly easy to make but keep in mind that unlike American pancake batter, the pancake batter for these Arab pancakes need to rest for 2 hours.

Yield:16 pancakes
For the pancake:
1 packet (1tsp.)active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4c lukewarm water
2 c all-purpose flour
sunflower oil

For the syrup:
2 c sugar
1 1/4c water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 Tbsp. orange-blossom water or rosewater

To serve:
2-3 handfuls of pistachios, chopped
clotted cream

1. Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with 1/4c of lukewarm water and leave till it begins to froth(about 5-6 minutes).
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the remaining water and beat till you have a smooth batter.Add more water , if necessary.Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and leave to rest for about two hours in a warm place.
3. When the batter is ready(by this time you will see air bubbles have formed in the batter),oil a large pan with the sunflower oil and heat pan.Slowly add about 1/4c of the batter to the pan and wait for it to bubble on one side.Then flip it over to the other side till batter is firmed up.
4. Place pancake on warmed serving platter.Repeat this process till batter is finished.
5.For the syrup, Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.Stir in the lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.Add the orange-blossom water or rosewater, if using and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
6. Remove syrup from heat and allow to cool then chill in the refrigerator.
7.When ready to serve, arrange pancakes on a platter with a dollop of clotted cream and drizzle with chopped pistachios.
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  1. That used to be my favorite dessert until I overdosed on them last summer! Great post!