Atayef- Asafeeri , the exotic Arabic pancake
Atayef is one of the most popular Arabic sweets , a hot favorite during Ramadan ( the fasting month for Muslim) , a folded Arabic pancake , served with Ater ( the syrup) . Asafeeri belongs to the same group , but unlike Atayef , it is not fully folded . One Side of asafeeri is open and filled with cream and the cream part is dipped in grounded pistachio or walnuts . It is not fried like Atayef too . Atayef has a crunchy surface , as it is fried and dipped in the sugar syrup before served . But Asafeeri is soft as it is not fried and usually little smaller than atayef in size .
The filling of atayef is traditionally very simple . There are many options for the filling . Like only nuts, coarsely chopped dried fruits , Nablusi or any other cheese . Sometimes cheese is mixed with fresh or clotted/ canned cream and grounded Mistka ( sugar crystal like things).
This is Atayef ; a half moon shaped:
This is asafeeri , one side open and filled with cream:
For the batter: ( makes about 4 atayef and 7-8 asafeeri together)
1/2 ( half) cup All purpose flour
1/2 (half) cup semolina ( sooji)
1 tbl spoon of milk powder
2 tbl spoon sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tbl spoon oil
1/2 ( half) teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 cup+ 1/3 rd cup Luke warm liquid milk
1 tbl spoon of orange blossom water/ rose water
1 pinch of baking soda
as I have mentioned earlier , there can be various options for the filling . The classic cheese filling is a filling with cheese and cream . There can be dried fruits filling or nut filling . Any filling of your choice . The filling I used is our home made, desi style cheese with cream filling and the interesting part is , I mixed some grounded Misri ( Taal-misri , sugar crystals) with it , instead of Mistka ( arabic sugar crystal). 🙂
Fresh cream/ canned cream
1 tbl spoon of condensed milk
Whip the cream for a while . Mixed with chana , condensed milk , sugar and grounded misri . The Filling must not be runny .So the amount of chaana/ cheese must be appropriate . The filling shoud be stiff. For the atayef mix some coarsely chopped nuts with it .
Boil 4 cups of milk . When it reaches the boiling point . Add 2/3 tbl spoon of lemon juice and stir until the whey separates . Drain out the whey and wash the chaana with running cold water . Squeeze out all the water from chaana . 🙂
Grounded pistachio and walnut
For the syrup:
Half cup sugar
Half cup water
Half tea spoonof lemon juice ( to prevent crystallization)
Make a Medium thick ( two thread consistency ) sugar syrup with the ingredients.
1. Make a thin batter with all the ingredients mentioned above except the baking soda . Allow the batter rest for at least 2 hours or until frothy . It’s better to let the batter rest for longer time for better result.
2. Beat the batter again with a spoon before you make the pancakes . Add the baking soda and mix well . The batter should be thin . If needed , you can add 1 or 2 tbl spoon of more water .Heat the pan on medium-low heat and when heated, rub the pan with little oil and drop batter on it using a ladle just like pancakes . Soon you will see the bubbles on it . If the batter is of right consistency, that is thin , there will be small bubbles all over the atayef . But if the batter is thick , the bubbles will not be so .
Here’s the picture of the batter of right consistency:
3. Just cook one side like the pancakes . Don’t turn over . Cook till the bottoms brown and the bubbles on the top appear to have dried out.
4. Now finish making all the pancakes like this. Place the filling and fold the edges with your finger tips . But for asafeeri , don’t fold it fully ,leave one side open and fill the opening with the filling and dip into ground pistachio or walnut.
5. For the Atayef , just before you serve , heat the pan with 1 tbl spoon of butter or oil and fry them a while until bit crunchy . Remove from the oil and dip into sugar syrup . Serve hot !!! Don’t fry the asafeeris. Serve both with ater ( sugar syrup)
1. Try to fold the atayef and asafeeri immediately , or else it will dry out and you will find difficulty to fold them up . So after frying cover them with a wet cloth so that it should not dry out until you are done with all the cakes .