The Flavours of Ramadan…
If there is one dessert that spells Ramadan, then Atayef is it! This is the one dessert that is only made in Ramadan. Atayef belongs to Arabic cuisine and is this cuisine’s take on pancakes. These dainty cakes are in every way similar to pancakes: made out of a batter, that is poured onto a hot iron skillet or a hot iron flat sheet to cook. However, unlike pancakes, Atayef batter does not include any eggs and is cooked only on one side. Then the done and cooled cakes are filled with all kinds of fillings. The traditional fillings remain forever the most favourite and they are either a cheese filling or a walnut filling. However, nowadays cooks are very creative and fill atayef with all sorts of fillings, from chocolates and pistachios, to dates, even jams and apple pie filling that is then served with a butterscotch sauce or any other sauce instead of the traditional Qater (Arabic style sugar syrup).
Traditionally, there is also another smaller version of Atayef, what we refer to as Atayef Asafiri (literally translating to bird’s atayef), maybe due to its ultra small size. These are usually half closed, the top part being filled with Ishta (Arabic fresh desserts cream) or a canned desserts cream, dipped in ground pistachios and topped with candied rose petals. All Atayef types and versions are divine! They are a dessert that is a must try, if you haven’t before.
I have all the fillings and types of Atayef, including my grandfather’s famous Atayef Cake recipe covered in my book Plated Heirlooms. Grab a copy, the book is a treasure of a collection of traditional and beautiful Palestinian Cuisine recipes that you will love to own. Check out the link at the end of this post for having your copy delivered to your doorstep.
In this post I will share with you my favourite Atayef recipe and some tips. Starting with the batter (should you need or want to make your own), to the fillings (traditional and newer versions), toppings and accompanying sauces. Of course you can also refer to the sugar syrup recipe for a wholesome, all home-made dessert.
Before we jump to the recipes, I also thought to inspire you to create an Atayef Buffet the next time you host an Iftar. Instead of going for the usual atayef service, why not make different kinds of the regular atayef this time along with Atayef Asafiri and place each kind/flavours in a separate tray or plate along with its accompanying sauce or sugar syrup? Then label the trays with the name of the atayef filling and syrups/sauces so your guests can make their choice. Not only is an atayef buffet scrumptiously delicious, but it is also very impressive. My friends and family love it, so am sure yours will too 🙂