If you live in Palestine regardless of your faith affiliation, you always look forward to eating qatayef during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Qatayef is the special dessert that is only served during this month. Growing up my mother never made the batter at home, we always get the ready qatayef from the market which most people do. And at home, we used to stuff them with, unsalted white cheese or walnuts, and dip them in sugar syrup after baking.
My aunt (khalti), my mom’s sister who immigrated a long time ago, has the recipe of making the batter -since it’s hard to find qatayef at the market here in the US, so she’s been doing her own for years and she generously shared it with me. Qatayef batter is made of farina, flour, water, and yeast blended together and then poured onto a hot skillet, the idea of it is very similar to pancakes, except only one side is cooked then each piece is stuffed and folded into a half-moon shape, then dipped in sugar syrup after baking.
So here is how to make the qatayef batter:
Blend together farina (smeed), flour, warm water, yeast, and a teaspoon of sugar. Pour the batter in a pot, cover, and let it rest. Open the cover and stir every 10 minutes, repeat this step 2-3 times, the batter should rise meanwhile. This entire step should take about 30 minutes in total.
Meanwhile heat up the skillet, I’m using here an electrical griddle, which is commonly used for making pancakes, it’s easier as you can do about 6-8 at once. A regular skillet can be used as well. Start by pouring in the batter in a small rounded shape over the preheated griddle. Once the top looks dry take out each piece and place on a clean sheet. Only one side is cooked. Continue the process until all batter is used. Once cooled off start stuffing the qatayef with your preference of nuts and cheese. And some stuff them with pistachios or ashta (heavy cream). As for the cheese, any white cheese can be used as long it is unsalted. Salted white cheese is available at any grocery store and can be soaked into water for a couple of hours before using to get rid of the salt and then add some orange blossom water which gives it an extra flavor. Walnuts are chopped and mixed with some sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once qatayef are all stuffed, they can be stored in a zip bag in the freezer and used during the entire month.
Qatayef doesn’t take much time for baking, just preheat the oven on 375 F degrees and brush each piece with butter and bake for 10-15 minutes. Right after baking dip the qatayef in sugar syrup for just a second then take them out and they’re ready for serving. I know some like to deeply fry them instead of baking, we grew up eating them baked and still prefer the baking method, it’s lighter and healthier.Print
- 2 cups of farina (smeed)
- 1 cup all-purpose white flour
- 4 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4–1 cup walnuts (or pistachios)
- 3/4–1 cup unsalted while cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Mix all the ingredients together in a blender.
- Pour the mix into a large pot and cover.
- The batter should rise after 15 minutes. Open the cover and stir every 10 minutes, repeat this step 2-3 times, the batter should rise meanwhile. This entire step should take about 30 minutes in total.
- Start by pouring in the batter in a small rounded shape over the preheated griddle (or skillet). Once the top looks dry take out each piece and place it on a clean sheet. Only one side is cooked. Continue the process until all batter is done.
- Let qatayef cool off for a few minutes before stuffing them.
- Mix 1 cup of sugar with half a cup of water, stir well over medium heat. Once boiling, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Turn off and set aside.
- Chop walnuts finely and pour in the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, (if used pistachios only add a ½ teaspoon of orange blossom water.
- Mix all well and stuff into the qatayef and make into a half-moon shape
- Chop cheese into small pieces then pour orange blossom water over cheese mix well. Stuff into qatayef and make it into a half-moon shape.
- This will make about 50 small pieces. It can be stored in a zip bag in the freezer for the entire month of Ramadan and take out whatever is needed for baking.
- Brush each piece with some butter and bake on 375 degrees of preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
- Dip qatayef inside the sugar syrup right after baking for a minute, then place in plates for serving.