Qatayef are stuffed mini pancakes that are filled with any variety of goodies including nuts, spices, fruits and cheeses. These stuffed, fried, and glazed goodies are a beloved dessert in the Arab world anytime, especially during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
During the 9th month of the lunar calendar, Muslims around the world celebrate the religious holiday of Ramadan. For each of 30 days, there is intense fasting, from sunrise to sundown.
After the sun sets, iftar takes place. This is a breaking of the fast, usually followed by a full meal of delicious foods.
Keep in mind there are countless varieties of these sweet stuffed pancakes. Qatayef can be baked, fried, crunchy or soft. They can be pinched off into little dumplings, like in this recipe, or left open like pita pockets.
The qatayef we are making today are fried little pockets, filled with a sweet cinnamon, walnut, and rose scented mixture. They are then drenched in a handmade simple syrup, coated with the crunchy nut mix, and adorned with delicate, crushed rose petals.
What is a Qatayef?
Qatayef, also spelled katayef or atayef, is a classic Arabic dessert for the iftar meal, and it is a favorite of many!
Depending on who makes them, the mini-sized, sweet stuffed pancakes can be made and filled in a number of different ways.
- soft or crunchy
- baked or fried
- sweet or savory
- left open or sealed like a dumpling
- covered in sweet sugar syrup, crushed nuts, or both!
Filling options for the qatayef are virtually endless, and can be almost anything! The most popular fillings are whipped cream, chopped nuts, cheese, and fruit or jam.
Video: Making Stuffed Pancakes
To watch the entire process from start to finish, check out the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Syrup – This simple combination of sugar, honey, lemon juice, and water forms the sweet shiny glaze that coats these goodies.
- Flour – Provides structure and makes up the bulk of the batter. All purpose flour is a perfect choice.
- Powdered Milk – Adds a boost of moisture and richness to the batter.
- Yeast & Baking Powder – Working in tandem, these give the pancakes a slight rise without excessive fluffiness. These two also bring a hint of tanginess, perfect for balancing out sweetness.
- Salt – A bit of salt perks up and harmonizes the flavors of everything around it.
- Filling – These scrumptious stuffed pancakes boast a filling of walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and rose water. It is delightfully warm, nutty, sweet, and floral all at once!
- Oil – For frying, vegetable oil is the perfect choice. You could also use refined olive oil, peanut, avocado, or coconut oil since they all have high smoke points.
After you cook them, lay the pancakes flat (bubbles side up) on a baking sheet. This makes a nice surface for them to cool on, and it also makes it easier to scoop the filling onto them.
HOW TO MAKE QATAYEF
1. Make the Syrup. Combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and allow the sauce to thicken as it cools to room temperature.
2. Start the Batter. Use a blender to puree all the ingredients for the batter together until smooth. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes or until there are bubbles and a bit of rising.
3. Check Consistency. Next, stir the batter and ensure that it has a consistency thinner than pancake batter and is free of lumps. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary.
4. Start the Pancakes. Heat up a dry skillet or griddle, then use a touch of oil and a paper towel to evenly grease the pan. Transfer enough batter to the pan to make a 3 inch circle, about 2 tablespoons.
5. Gently Cook. Important note! Do not flip these pancakes. Allow them to cook on one side only until the surface of the pancake no longer appears wet and has lots of bubbles visible. Continue with the rest of the batter, adjusting the heat as needed.
6. Lay Flat. Transfer each pancake, bubble side up, to a baking sheet. Keep them in a single layer, not overlapping. Cover and set aside.
7. Prepare the Filling. Pulse together the rose water, walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar in a food processor until well combined and finely chopped. Set ¾ cup of the mixture aside.
8. Fill and Seal. Still working with the bubble side up, gently hold each qatayef and add a teaspoon of the filling to its center. Fold the pancake over, then pinch the outer edges firmly to seal.
9. Deep Fry. Place a frying pan with 2 inches of oil over medium high heat until you reach 350 degrees F. Gently place each stuffed pancake in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
10. Coat in Syrup. While the qatayef are still hot, toss and thoroughly coat them in the cooled syrup. To finish cooling, transfer them to a wire rack with a baking sheet or drip tray underneath.
11. Garnish & Serve. Finally, take each syrup saturated qatayef and dip it into the reserved walnut and cinnamon mixture. Press gently to help everything stick. Sprinkle with dried, crushed rose petals to top it all off. Serve and enjoy these stuffed pancakes warm or at room temperature.
Can Qatayef Be Prepared Ahead of Time?
Definitely! You can easily stuff, seal, and freeze this recipe for up to a few months.
After filling and sealing your qatayef, lay them in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover and flash freeze for a few hours or overnight. You can then transfer your frozen pastries to a freezer bag if desired.
Once the time is right, just remove from the freezer and fry, no thawing needed!
How Do I Store Leftover Qatayef?
Stored in an airtight container, these fried stuffed pancakes are good at room temperature for a few days.
How Do I Reheat Qatayef?
Enjoy at room temperature or pop them in a 350° F oven for about 15 minutes.
Qatayef (Sweet Stuffed Pancakes)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add syrup ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn heat off and let it cool to room temperature. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes until bubbly and rises slightly.
- Stir the batter and check consistency. Batter should be thinner than pancake and not lumpy. Add a tablespoon of water if needed.
Cook the pancakes
- Heat a griddle or skillet until hot. Use a paper towel and a drop of oil to grease the pan. Add a scoop, about 2 tablespoons of the batter making a 3 inch circle.
- Gently cook pancake on one side, DO NOT FLIP onto the other side. Cook until lots of bubbles form on the surface of the pancake and surface is no longer wet. Adjust the heat and continue with remaining batter.
- Arrange qatayef bubble side up on a baking sheet (do not overlap them) and cover with a towel. Set aside until you are finished with the rest of the batter.
- Process the walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and rose water in a food processor until finely chopped. Reserve 3/4 cup for dipping garnish.
- Hold each qatayef bubble side up and add a teaspoon of the filling in the center. Fold the qatayef in half and pinch the sides to close firmly. (See Note 1).
- Pour 2 inches of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium-high until 350°F.
- Fry about 2 minutes each side, or until they become golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the Qatayef from the pan and drain for 1 minute on paper towels.
- While still hot, toss the qatayef into the cooled sugar syrup, turning to make sure they’re well coated. Transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil, allowing excess syrup to drip off.
- Dip the end of each soaked Qatayef into the reserved 3/4 cup walnut filling, pressing to adhere if needed and sprinkle crushed, dried rose petals over and serve warm or at room temperature.
- At this point you could freeze for up to a month. To freeze, lay the Qatayef in a single layer over a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours until they harden. Transfer to a zipper lock bag then store in the freezer, until ready to fry. Fry directly from frozen (no need to thaw).
- Recipe adapted from Tasbih over at Cleobuttera. Check out here amazing recipes!
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.