I’ve always considered these delectable treats as the “Dessert Pancake” of the Middle East.
Of course, these pancakes get stuffed and fried and then dipped in syrup…so it takes a few more steps than making a typical pancake…but hey, it’s worth the time and the effort!
3 cups of water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup course semolina (I plan on trying this with fine semolina to see if it makes a difference)
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups Nabulsi Cheese
2 cups walnuts
Cinnamon, to taste
Sugar, to taste
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
2-3 cups vegetable oil
Prepping the Qatayef Stuffings:
Cheese: Nabulsi cheese is a very, very salty cheese. For this dessert (and many other cheesy Middle Eastern desserts) you’re going to need to to grate and soak the cheese in water. I suggest changing the water every 45 minutes or so until the cheese has completely lost its salty flavor. This is a step that you cannot do very quickly; be sure that you have at least of 2-3 hours of soaking time. RIGHT BEFORE IT’S TIME TO STUFF THE QATAYEF and once the cheese has lost all salty flavor, transfer it into a strainer and squeeze out all the water. The cheese’s texture will be different and it will seem crumbly, but that’s perfectly fine.
Walnuts: Place the walnuts into a food processor and blend them up until it is a course, yet sandy type of texture. Begin with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and then work your way up to the desired taste that you want. I know it’s currently Ramadan, so it’s nearly impossible to taste things…so what you’ll want to see is that in each spoon of walnut mix, you’ve got a significant blend of the sugar and cinnamon in there as well. Nice thing about this dessert is that it can never bee “too sweet”.
In a blender, combine and blend all the batter ingredients mentioned above until smooth. Leave the batter in the blender. The Qatayef batter will resemble a thinner pancake batter. Allow the batter to rest for about 10-12 minutes. During the resting time, you can prepare the griddle or pan.
If you’ve got a pancake griddle, it’s going to make the process much faster because you’ll be able to make more than 1 Qatayef at a time . But if you don’t have one, simply place a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
Pour enough batter into the pan for a 4-5inch diameter Qatayef. Watch as the Qatayef will begin to bubble and create little craters throughout the entire circle. (I think it looks super cool!) Note: I always find that my first Qatayef is my “test Qatayef”. I can see if the pan is hot enough or maybe…too hot. I then adjust as needed.
DO NOT flip the Qatayef. Once it’s all bubbled up transfer to a tray or I personally love to use a kitchen towel and lay the Qatayef on that and cover it up with the same towel or another towel.
Continue the process of frying the Qatayef until you’ve used up all your batter.
NOTE: Eventually, you may feel like the batter isn’t working as well or not bubbling up as well as your initial first Qatayefs. If this is the case, add another 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, blend it up again and let is rest for another 10 minutes.
Stuffing the Qatayef:
Now it’s the fun part! Grab one of the Qatayef and in the center place about a 1 teaspoon of cheese OR walnut filling. Then fold over and pinch the top part until it closes up.
I suggest you place them in separate piles because once they are closed up, there’s no opening them up again! 🙂
Preparing the Syrup (Qatir):
In a medium sized sauce pan, combine and stir all the ingredients mentioned above and bring to a boil. Then reduce to medium heat and continue to stir until you have a slightly sticky consistency. Then remove from heat and set aside.
Frying the Qatayef:
In a medium sized sauce pan, pour in 2-3 cups of vegetable oil and bring to high heat. Once the oil is hot, reduce to medium-high heat and begin frying the Qatayef for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until it’s slightly golden in color.
Then quickly transfer the Qatayef into the syrup’s sauce pan. Give it a flip so that both sides are covered in syrup and then transfer to a serving plate and enjoy them while they’re hot! 🙂