While some premade versions of these popular pancakes are already sealed 2/3 of the way and ready to be filled, some are sold unfolded. Sealing them can be a bit tricky. Traditionally, the batter is only fried on one side which makes closing them easy as the side that becomes the interior is still unbaked and as such a bit sticky and easy to pinch together. So, to seal premade ones, you may need to use a bit of the sticky sugar syrup to get the job done.
Qatayef asafiri is an Arab dessert that is only served in the holy month of Ramadan. The name of the dessert also refers to the runny batter, which is made into small pancakes, which are then stuffed with an ashta filling. The filling is often flavoured with aromatics like rose water. After the pancake has been closed and stuffed, making it resemble a half-moon, the open end is dipped in chopped nuts like pistachios. The dessert, which is also known as katayef or atayef, is usually served with sugar syrup.
With our qatayef asafiri recipe in hand, making this delicious Ramadan treat is easy as pie. Make the filling by combining cream, milk, and cornflour at medium heat. Bring it to a boil, add the aromatic rose water, and let it cool before using it to fill the small pancakes. Seal it 2/3 of the way so it becomes half-moon shaped and place about 1 tbsp filling in each half-moon pancake. Dip the open end with exposed cream filling in chopped pistachios, drizzle with sugar syrup, and serve the sweet treats.
While some qatayef recipes suggest drizzling them with honey, most call for some sugar syrup to drizzle over with or dunk in. The thick syrup, which is also called simple syrup, may be purchased in well-stocked supermarkets or made at home by dissolving white sugar in boiling water. Different kinds of syrups may be produced by using different types of sugar or adding different flavourings, for instance, spices like cinnamon. In a traditional Arabic qatayef recipe, simple syrup is often flavoured with floral aromatics like orange blossom water, rose water, and lemon juice.
Since it is quite sweet, this dessert is perfect for people with a sweet tooth! The thick and velvety filling stuffed into the sweet, soft pancakes is sweet, fresh, and creamy. Perfumed with rose water, it has a wonderful floral quality. Nutty flavour and crunch are introduced through the use of chopped pistachios. As a final touch, these treats are either drizzled with sugar syrup or served with syrup on the side to dip into.
Due to the filling, unfried qatayef asafiri does not freeze well. The dairy-based filling is prone to splitting when frozen and thawed and, as such, we do not recommend freezing these Ramadan treats. If you would like to be able to freeze them, we recommend freezing only the pancakes themselves. To prevent them from sticking together, place them on a baking tray in the freezer until they have frozen solid and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and reheat them in the oven.
If covered and stored in the fridge, these dessert bites will keep for up to 2 days. Alternatively, you can store the easy ashta filling and the pancakes separately and assemble them just before serving them. Either way, make sure to remove them from the fridge ahead of time so they have time to acclimate and reach room temperature before you serve them to your waiting family and guests.
Ramadan qatayef asafiri is a special treat served only once a year. When a dessert is enjoyed so seldom it must be extra delicious. Fortunately, these filled pancakes are just that. The pancakes themselves are sweet, soft, and fluffy. Traditionally, they are stuffed with a clotted cream-like filling called ashta, but we have chosen to make a quicker, easier version. Our easy ashta cream is made by combining milk, cream, and cornflour to create a thickened cream mixture flavoured with fragrant rose water.
To complement the soft pancakes and the creamy filling, you traditionally serve qatayef with nuts. The most popular choice is pistachios. These mild-tasting nuts taste sweet and have a beautiful green colour. The nutty flavour and crunchy texture they add to this Ramadan dessert make it even more interesting to eat and truly round out the dish. Their vibrant colouring instantly catches your eye and entices you to try one.
For more desserts that feature this delightful ingredient, check out our recipe for balah al sham and our mafroukeh recipe, showcasing the beautifully green pistachios.
No iftar meal is complete without a tasty treat to round off the meal. These light pancakes with their mascarpone-like filling on display and sprinkled with pistachios make for a beautiful dessert. Their half-moon cone shape makes them easy to pick up and bite into. If you would like to make a homemade batter without semolina and make these pancakes from scratch, you can learn how in our recipe for fried qatayef.
Your homemade qatayef filling may be flavoured in plenty of different ways. Traditional options, besides rose water, include orange blossom water. However, if you feel like trying something that is not floral, you can make sweet, child-friendly versions flavoured with vanilla and cocoa or a more adult version with an intense coffee flavour. Warming spices cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves also pair well with the sweet, floral cream filling. Explore different sweet ingredients this Ramadan to discover the tastiest, best qatayef recipe for you and your family.