Qatayef is the most traditional Ramadan dessert. I do not recall eating it except during the fasting month of Ramadan but at that time, I would like to eat it every single night after Iftar. In middle east countries, you can get the qatayef dough from the bakery, fresh and ready made to be stuffed right away. However, living abroad this is not an option. So, as expected the most challenging part is to prepare the qatayef dough right to be crispy but not too hard. If you get this right, then it is all super easy from there.Each qatayef dough will have a filling, the filling could be cream, sweet cheese or as in a mix of coconuts, raisins, walnuts, bit of sugar and cinnamon or even nutella. They are then deep fried and covered with the sugar syrup. It is DELICIOUS! It goes best with a cup of minty tea.
So my biggest challenge is to make the qatayef crispy, I failed few times. They used to come out like a pancake cause I made a few critical mistakes. To know whether you made the dough right or not is easy by just looking at the dough on the hot pan while cooking. The more the holes on the top of each dough, the more successful you are. The less the holes, the less crispy it will be.
Some of my mistakes over time in order of preparation steps were:
- (Dough preparation related) Not enough water added to the dough, so it was too thick
- (Dough preparation related) The water I added was hot by mistake so it ruined the whole rising process
- (Dough preparation related) I did not leave the dough to rest enough
- (Dough cooking related) The heat was too high while cooking the dough
- (Dough cooking related) Not covering the qatayef after the dough was cooked (before frying)
- (Frying related) The frying oil was not hot enough
- (Post frying related) I did not wait for the qatayef to cool down a little bit before dipping in the sugar syrup
- (Post frying related) Sugar syrup was not at room temperature
- (Post frying related) Covering it after being fried is a big No No
Hope you like my recipe below after all these corrections and mistakes to be avoided. May the force be with you to get a good crispy qatayef.
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of semolina
2 1/4 cups of warm water (another 1/4 to 1/2 cup might be used after the dough rises to get it a bit watery and reduce its thickness)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp of sugar
pinch of salt
An electric mixer 🙂
Mix all the above together well in an electric mixer.
Let it rest for at least 2 hours. Be patient and do not rush.
If the batter is too thick as shown in the video, add 1/4 cup of water.
Get a non stick pan and get it really hot.
Now what I do, I fill a bottle with the dough and I pour it on the hot pan.
Lower the heat low/medium when you put the dough.
Watch the holes “hopefully” are big and showing.
Overview of the full process in the video is here:
As soon as the holes are dried up on the top, take it off the pan and cover with a towel. Do NOT flip, it is cooked only from one side until the holes on top are formed and no wet dough are on the top anymore.
Keep repeating until you are done.
Prepare the filling
This is up to your imagination and cravings, I usually mix some raisins, coconut, sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. In all cases, you need some sugar.
Make sure to cover with plastic wrap the ones you finish.
Get a medium deep frying pan and fill with a lot of oil.The qayatef need to be deep fried.
Make sure the oil is hot.
Add the qatayef to the oil and lower the heat now to low.
Wait until golden brownish color but not too dark.
Drain the qatayef in a strainer on a top of plate to cool down a little bit.
Dip in the homemade sugar syrup, make sure that the sugar syrup is at the room temperature (recipe of the syrup is here) then pick it up quickly and let it drain again in another strainer.
Make sure there is always a plate under the strainers or there will be a sticky mess 🙂