Katayef are heavenly pockets stuffed with delicious Arabian fillings. You can serve these thin pancakes baked or fried, then lightly drizzled with sweet maple syrup

Serves
6

Preparation

40min

Cooking

30min

Skill level

Mid
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Ingredients

Katayef batter

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup fine semolina
  • 1½ cup lukewarm water + 1 tbsp water
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Date and ricotta filling

  • 170 g pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 170 g ricotta cheese
  • zest of one lemon

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp shelled pistachios, very finely chopped
  • dried rose petals
  • pure maple syrup

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Sitting time: 20 minutes

1. To make the Katayef, place the wet and dry ingredients in the blender and blend for 3 minutes until you get a thin mixture. Katayef batter should have the consistency of a classic pancake batter. If it’s thicker than that, then add a tablespoon or so of water to thin it out a bit. Allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes.

2. Heat up a non-stick pan on medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, for medium sized Katayef pour 2 tablespoons. The pancakes should be about 10 cm in diameter. (If you prefer small sized Katayef, pour 1 tablespoon). Spread lightly using the bottom of your spoon or ladle. The Katayef should start to bubble around the edges, then the bubbles should spread to cover the entire surface

3. Allow to gently cook on one side, WITHOUT flipping on the other side. Leave it to cook until the surface is no longer wet and the bottom is light golden.

4. Lay the pancakes, bubbles side up on a large plate or baking sheet without stacking them on top of each other as they'll stick together, and keep them covered with a clean towel while you make the rest of the pancakes.

5. To make the filling, fold the ingredients into a bowl to combine.

6. With the bubbly side facing up, fill each Katayef centre with enough filling that would allow the pancake to comfortably close without tearing; about 2 heaped teaspoons for a medium size Katayef.

7. Fold the pancake so that it forms a half moon and pinch the sides firmly with your fingertips to seal. Repeat the process with each Katayef until you stuff them all, keep them covered. At this point, you could freeze them for up to a month for later use.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.

9. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Brush the Katayef with melted butter or margarine and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC until lightly golden for about 10 minutes, flipping on the other side half of the time of baking. Bake a bit longer if you like it crispier.

10. Drizzle them with maple syrup and garnish with chopped pistachio nuts and dried rose petals.

Notes
The best way to know if you need to add more water or not to your Katayef batter is by cooking your first Katayef pancake. If you get a fair amount of bubbles that means that your batter is perfect, if not then you will need to add a bit more water to the mixture. This is a common mistake when it comes to making Katayef, working with a very thick batter.

To get a darker color on the Katayef, lightly brush the pan with a bit of butter, then use a paper towel to wipe excess grease.

Make sure you don’t overfill the Katayef so that you are able seal them and they don’t open or burst during cooking or freezing.

Once the Katayef are stuffed, they could be frozen for up to month. To freeze, lay the Katayef in a single layer over a baking paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours until they harden. Transfer to a zipper lock bag then store in the freezer, until ready to fry. Fry directly from frozen; no need to thaw.