Atayef (Qatayef)

Atayef (also called Qatayef or Katayef) are Middle-Eastern pancakes filled with cream or nuts and soaked in a sugar syrup. It is an Arab dessert which is commonly served during the Holy month of Ramadan. Like pancake batter, this is also usually made using all purpose flour, but also has some semolina and nuts added to it.

Atayefs can be stuffed with cream or nuts and then deep fried. Alternatively, they can also be partially folded and filled and served as-is without deep frying. The traditional Atayef recipe uses a filling of the akkawi cheese. Akkawi is a white brine cheese which has originated from the city of Acre in Israel. Since Akkawi cheese isn’t readily available here in India, Ricotta or a mix of Ricotta and Mozzarella is a close alternative to it.

In this recipe that I am sharing, I have used a Ricotta filling. The pancakes are quite light and this is a delicious dessert. If you are looking for more Ifthar specials, then do check out the other recipes I have already posted.

Atayef (Qatayef)

Course: DessertCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



A middle-eastern pancake filled with a mildly sweet cheese filling and soaked in sugar syrup!


  • For the batter
  • Lukewarm Water – 1½ cup

  • Yeast – ¼ tsp

  • Sugar – 1 tbsp

  • All Purpose Flour – ¾ cup

  • Fine Semolina – ¼ cup

  • Baking Powder – ½ tsp

  • Salt – 1/8 tsp

  • For the filling
  • Ricotta cheese – about ¼ cup

  • Powdered Sugar – 2-3 tsp

  • Rose water – a few drops

  • Pistachios – crushed

  • For the sugar syrup
  • Water – ¼ cup

  • Sugar – ¼ cup

  • Lemon Juice – 1-2 tsp

  • Rose Water – ½-1 tsp


  • Mix together the yeast and sugar in a bowl and add ½ cup of lukewarm water to it first. Let it sit for 5 min so that the yeast activates and rises.
  • To this, add the flour, semolina, baking powder, salt and remaining water and mix well to a smooth batter of pancake like consistency.
  • It should not be very thick. Let it sit aside while you prepare the filling and sugar syrup.
  • For the filling, mix together the ricotta cheese, sugar and rose water and keep it aside.
  • For the sugar syrup, heat together sugar and water till it comes to a boil and the sugar is fully dissolved in it. Let it boil for a couple of minutes till it it slightly thickens. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice and rose water to it and keep it aside to cool.
  • Heat a pan and pour 1-2 tbsp of batter onto the pan. Let it cook on low-medium heat only on one side.
  • The top should have large bubbles all over. If there aren’t enough bubbles, the batter probably is a little thick and you may want to thin it down a little with some more water.
  • The atayef pancakes should only be cooked on one side. Take it off heat and keep it covered on a kitchen towel so that it doesn’t dry up while you cook the remaining pancakes.
  • To assemble, take each pancake and pinch the edges together till half way to resemble an open cone.
  • Fill the cheese mixture from the open side and then sprinkle some crushed pistachios.
  • Pour the sugar syrup onto the atayefs and serve.

Recipe Video

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