Simply Lebanese

Atayef

  • Prep Time
    30 mins
  • Cook Time
    10 mins
  • Serving
    8
Atayef are Middle-Eastern Pancakes stuffed with a ricotta cream, sprinkled with crushed pistachios and served with a rose-water simple syrup. 

For today’s dessert recipe of my Ramadan Series, I am going to share with you the one recipe that screams Ramadan to me more than any other, Atayef (Qatayef). Atayef are Middle-Eastern Pancakes made with very basic ingredients. They are stuffed with a variety of fillings like cheese or nuts and topped with a rose-water flavored simple syrup. Throughout Lebanon and the rest of the Middle-East, you will find Atayef at every local bakery during Ramadan. One very popular version is stuffed with spiced walnuts or a white cheese, deep fried, and dipped in rose-water simple syrup.

Atayef Asafiri

The Atayef recipe I am sharing with you today is much lighter than the fried versions. These are smaller in size, and stuffed with a cream and sprinkled with pistachios. They are known as Atayef Asafiri. This recipe comes from my mother who got it from her late mother, my grandmother. According to my mom, my grandmother got this recipe from a very popular bakery in Lebanon.

My mother makes these more than any other dessert during Ramadan and even after Ramadan, especially for large gatherings. They are so easy to make and always such a hit, so, expect your guests to be very impressed!

Atayef

Sweet Filling

The classic filling for Atayef Asafiri is ashta. Ashta is a clotted cream made from whole milk. It can be made at home, but, to be honest I highly prefer the ricotta cheese filling. I use whole milk ricotta as I find the flavor much better and richer than skim, but, you can substitute for skim if you prefer. The ricotta filling is mixed with a sweet table cream (I use the Nestle brand which can be found at Walmart, or your local Middle-Eastern grocer.)

This Atayef batter is very similar to pancake batter, but runnier. You will find other recipes that use semolina or yeast in their batter but, this recipe is by far the easiest to work with. The atayef are cooked on a non-stick skillet just like pancakes except, they are not flipped over. The top side will bubble and once there are no more shiny (raw batter) areas, they are removed and placed on a light kitchen towel or paper towels lined on your counter. You will notice after they have fully cooled, they will get very soft which makes them easy to work with. 

These Atayef are best served the same day. However, if you need to make these in advance, you can create the pancakes in advance and store them in an airtight bag in the fridge or even in the freezer. 

STEP 1

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and sugar) together.

Atayef

Add the water to the combined dry ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be similar to a runnier pancake batter. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Atayef

STEP 2

Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat.

Drop 1-2 tablespoons of batter and spread lightly using the bottom of your spoon or ladle.

STEP 3

The Atayef will begin to bubble. Once there are no more shiny (raw batter) areas, remove the pancake using a spatula and place on a light kitchen towel or paper towels. This will take 1-2 minutes.

Atayef

The bottom of the Atayef should be a light brown color.

Atayef

STEP 4

To prepare the filling, add the ricotta and table cream to a small bowl and mix together. Add a tablespoon of the rose-water simple syrup to the filling to give it a wonderful rose water aroma. *This is Optional

*Skim or low fat ricotta may be substituted but I HIGHLY recommend using full-fat.

Atayef

STEP 5

Once the Atayef pancakes have fully cooled, place about 1 tablespoon of filling on the pancake.

Atayef

Pinch the sides together to close it ¾ of the way.

STEP 6

Dip the open section of the stuffed Atayef asafiri into the crushed pistachios.

Serve with Attar (Rose-water syrup) or as is.

Atayef

Atayef

Atayef are Middle-Eastern Pancakes stuffed with a ricotta cream, sprinkled with crushed pistachios and served with a rose-water simple syrup. 
4.56 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle-Eastern
Keyword: attar, rose water syrup, syrup
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tb. white granulated sugar
  • cups water Room Temp.
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup crushed pistachios
  • rose water simple syrup (attar) For serving

Rose Water Syrup

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and sugar) together. 
    Add the water to the combined dry ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be similar to a runnier pancake batter. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat. Drop 1-2 tablespoons of batter and spread lightly using the bottom of your spoon or ladle.
  • The Atayef will begin to bubble. Once there are no more shiny (raw batter) areas, remove the pancake using a spatula and place on a light kitchen towel or paper towels. This will take 1-2 minutes.
    The bottom of the Atayef should be a light brown color.
  • To prepare the filling, add the ricotta cheese to a bowl. Add a tablespoon of the rose-water simple syrup to the filling to give it a wonderful rose water aroma. 
  • Once the Atayef pancakes have fully cooled, place about 1 tablespoon of filling on the pancake.
     Pinch the sides together to close it ¾ of the way.
    *Skim or low fat ricotta may be substituted but I HIGHLY recommend using full-fat.
  • Dip the open section of the stuffed Atayef asafiri into the crushed pistachios.
  • Serve with simple syrup or as is. 

Rose Water Simply Syrup

  • Prepare the rose water simple syrup by combing the sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat and whisk until all the sugar has dissolved in the water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rose water and orange blossom water and turn off heat. Once the syrup has cooled, pour into a jar and set aside. 
    Or Check out the recipe directly here: Attar

Notes

*Skim or low fat ricotta may be substituted but I HIGHLY recommend using full-fat

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Protein: 9.6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Cholesterol: 31.4mg | Sodium: 67.8mg | Potassium: 84.6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15.9g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • River

      Can this be done with bread flour or specifically all purpose flour?

    • CC

      5 stars
      Great recipe!
      Perfect for those who cannot tolerate yeast. Way less finiky than other recipes I’ve tried.
      Just needed to be watered down a little otherwise recipe was very easy to work with.
      Thank you for putting me out of my misery, I’ve finally found a recipe I can turn to and know it’ll turn out perfectly.

      P.S.. My 7 year old described these as incredible and she’s the fussinest easter I know.

      Ramadan Kareem.

      • Iman

        Thank you so much, your comments are so sweet and appreciated!

    • Naila

      Can you substitute the table cream for sweetened condensed cream of heavy whipping cream?

      • Iman

        The Nestle table cream is just to add some sweetness, you can def substitute some sweetened condensed cream or “whipped” heavy cream. You can also just use ricotta on its own!

    • Fatima

      Thanks for this! I tried it. Just needed it to be crispier and more golden. For the filling I used smooth cottage cheese, can of nestle cream , orange blossom and rose water and honey and golden syrup. Decorated it with rose petals. I’ll try it again and hope to improve !

      • Iman

        Sounds delicious!

    • billy

      Hi, you said this recipe was passed down from your grandmother to your mother from a popular bakery. did that bakery use ricotta cheese and nestle table cream?

      • Iman

        They used Ashta, which I have a recipe for in my Lebanese fruit cocktail recipe. This is the easier, more accessible version!

        • billy

          Ok I see, thank you for your nice response! I will check out that recipe. Sorry I didn’t mean to be rude.

    • Tania

      hi what is the substitute of ricotta cheese ? can we use cream cheese?

      • Iman

        You can use any ashta recipe!

    • Mary

      Can I sub the table cream with half and half cream? Or will that mess up the texture?

      • Iman

        Half n half would make it a little too runny. I would just omit the table cream all together and it will still be as delicious!

    • Sofia

      Hi Iman

      I am sooo going to make these! The softness of the pancakes in the picture did it for me. My low carb diet is out of the window!

      • Iman

        Thank you!! Hope you enjoy them!!

    • Yasmeen Ibrahim

      can these be deep-fried?

      • Iman

        These cannot, there is another version that is stuffed with a sweet cheese (hard white cheese) and then deep fried and dipped in syrup! I hope to have the recipe up soon!

      • RS

        Are those raw or roasted pistachios you topped it with? If roasted is it salted or unsalted?

        • Iman

          Raw, unsalted nuts that I grinded!

    • Sally

      5 stars
      Really liked this recipe, but as I’m trying to make it less calories/fat to fit my dietary needs, was wondering if I can use fat free ricotta as a substitute?

      • Iman

        Yes! You can definitely substitute fat free or skim ricotta.

    • Jenn

      5 stars
      The pancake batter was so easy to make, but a bit more challenging to cook..Took a few tries before I got it right, but then I went back to the recipe and realized I was cooking it on too high temperature. Definitely make sure you cook the batter on low-medium like it says and it will come out perfect.

    • Layla S.

      5 stars
      Thought I would have preferred the traditional ashta that goes in this, but after making this recipe, I found that I actually prefer the ricotta combo used here instead. Have made several times since and family agrees, great recipe

      • Iman

        Thank you! While the ashta version is delicious, it is so tedious! I love how easy this recipe comes together, and the flavor of ricotta is so similar!

    • Khadijah

      5 stars
      Great Ramadan treat for my family, all the kids loved it

    • Katie

      5 stars
      Sooo good! Much easier to make then I expected

    • Ahmad

      5 stars
      This atayef recipe is absolutely delicious, the pistachios to top it off ?

    • Sarah

      5 stars
      Wow

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