Recipe courtesy of The Book of Jewish Food
Pancakes in Syrup (Makes 32 tiny open Ataifs)
There are two versions of this wonderful Syrian sweet. The pancakes can be tiny and topped with thick cream and a sprinkling of pistachios, or they can be large and stuffed with chopped walnuts or a soft bland cheese. Both kinds are soaked in a syrup that gives them a soft, spongy texture and a delicate perfume. Those topped with cream and the ones stuffed with cheese are specialties of Shavuot. You will find the stuffed ataif as variations.
For the batter
1-teaspoon active dry yeast
1-½ cups (350 ml) warm water
1 1/3 cups (200g) flour For the syrup
1-¼ cups (300 ml) warm water
2-½ cups (500 g) sugar Juice of ½ lemon
1-tablespoon orange-blossom or rose water
For the cream topping
½ lb (250 g) kaimak clotted cream, or mascarpone
1 ¼ cups (150 g) pistachios, finely chopped
For the batter, dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of the water and leave until it froths. Put the flour in a bowl, and add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water gradually, beating vigorously, to make a creamy, lump-free batter. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for about an hour.
To make the syrup, bring to the boil the water with the sugar and lemon juice and simmer 10 minutes, then add the orange-blossom or rose water.
Make the tiny open ataif (pancakes), a few at a time, in a nonstick frying pan greased with a little oil. Pour the batter by the tablespoonful, making several little rounds that are not touching, in the pan at the same time. Cook over medium-low heat. As little holes form on top and the little pancakes come away from the pan and become golden on the bottom, turn and do the other side. Drop them into the syrup as they are done. To serve, arrange in one layer. Spread each with kaimak, clotted cream, or mascarpone. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and pour the remaining syrup over them.
• To make about 12 (large) stuffed ataif with cheese (ataif bi jibn), pour the batter by the half-Ladleful and cook on one side only (this is important), until the surface has lost its whiteness. Stuff the pancakes as you go along, while they are still warm and moist-otherwise they will not stick together easily. For the filling, use ¾Ib (375 g) half-and-half mixture of ricotta and mozzarella blended to a paste in the food processor. Put a heaping tablespoonful in the middle of each pancake, on the cooked side, fold over the filling to make a half-moon shape, and close the pastries by pressing the edges firmly together. Deep-fry briefly in medium-hot oil until brown. Lift them out with a perforated spoon, drain on paper towels, and dip in the syrup. Serve preferably hot.
• For a walnut filling for ataif bi goz, mix 2 cups (250 g) finely chopped walnuts with 4 tablespoons sugar, I teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon rose or orange-blossom water.
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