After a busy week sewing and painting, along with general family keeping and the beginning of Ramadan Fasting, Friday night brought on a baking frenzy that lasted just shy of 2 hours.
I made German Chocolate Cupcakes for the neighbors. Yes, it was a store-bought mix and frosting, but I tweaked the cake a little by using an extra egg and milk instead of water. That made them super light and airy. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.
Then we decided to make some Ataif for Iftar.
The first time I travelled to Egypt, my extended family had made huge trays of sweets to celebrate our arrival. We had Konafa, Bassboussa, Ma’moul, Ka’ak, and Ataif. Since then, I have been trying different recipes for the pancake. I have a cookbook that said just to use Aunt Jemima pancake mix. It didn’t work well, and they split open once I tried to fill them. Then I tried Bisquick, a recipe from scratch, and we even went to the famous sweet shop 45 minutes away and had them make us a tray of the pancakes so we could fill them ourselves and make our own! Yes, it seems excessive, but I don’t like the store-bought walnut filled, rosewater soaked Ataif. I wanted the ones I ate in Egypt.
Last year, in my desperate search for the illusive pancake recipe, I turned to the internet. Let me just tell you, I Love Google. It answers soo many questions that arise in my family keeping. I digress.
I came across a recipe for a yeast based batter. It was different from anything I had ever tried before, and not being afraid of using yeast, I gave it a shot. It was perfection! Just springy enough, just bendy enough, it pinched together and didn’t split when we fried them. Today, I share the recipe with you. Bon Apetit!
By Habibi on April 11, 2008
- Prep Time: 1 hr
- Total Time: 2 hrs min
- Serves: 12
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 -2 tablespoon rose water
- vegetable oil
- 2 cups walnut coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Dissolve yeast in sugar and 1/2 cup of water. let it froth for 10 minutes.
- Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and remaining water gradually.
- Beat vigorously into a creamy lump-free batter.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour.
- To make the syrup, bring the water to a boil with sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the rose water and simmer for a few more seconds. Allow to cool.
- Heat an oiled skillet until it is very hot. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Pour a half ladle of batter into the skillet, allowing it to spread. fry only one side of the pancake. when little holes appear, lift them out and set them on a platter to be stuffed.
- Put a heaping tablespoon of stuffing in the middle of each pancake. fold in half and pinch the edges tightly to allow no filling to escape.
- Deep fry a few at a time in a medium hot oil about 1 inch deep. Remove when they turn pale brown.
- Drain on paper towels. Dip, while hot, in the syrup. pour the remaining syrup over the top of all of them and serve either hot or cold.
My Notes: For the Syrup, my family does not care for Rose Water, so you can substitute Orange Blossom Water, Vanilla Extract or any Extract Flavoring you like. For the filling, my family prefers Pecans or Almonds to Walnuts, and we like Coconut and Raisins in addition to the nuts. Sometimes I add a little nutmeg. You can also fill these with cream cheese or meat and rice for pocket (lunchbox) food. If you’d rather not deep fry them, brush them with butter or cooking spray and bake in a 350 oven until golden brown.
Another Ataif recipe on a website I use for reference is found on Diana’s Desserts blog.