I featured Atayef few days ago (see Ramadan Kareem). In that post I wrote "Please don't ask me for the recipe, I have no clue how to make them". A rescue team of bro's emailing recipe and Replacement Chef doing online research and offering to help making them produced this amazing platter of Atayef.
And I know at least half a dozen followers would love to attempt this, so here is the adventurous recipe and Atayef making journey.
Ingredients for almost 3 dozens
3 cups flour, 1 tsp yeast, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs sugar
Mix and add lots of water (approximately 1.5 cups water to each cup of flour). Whip into a batter that is watery enough, much thinner than pancake batter.
The Toughest Part
Now I have a phobia towards making things like pancakes, crepes or omelettes. But Replacement Chef turned out to be a pro at this. Thinking like Aunt Jemima, heated up the grill, tested it with water, sprinkled a tiny bit of oil on it and threw on the batter. "The first one is always a throwaway tester", says RC. For me, it was drooling from the first sight. And they turned out perfectly.
So the trick is (a) drop the batter to form a circle (about 3.5-4 inches diameter); (b) do not spread the batter around; (c) watch as the bubbles form; (d) take it off as soon as there are no wetness showing around the bubbles and the bottom begins to smoke. The whole process takes less than a minute.
Most importantly, DO NOT FLIP, only cook the one side. Put them on a kitchen linen or towel and let cool. Cover with towel until ready to stuff them.
Stuffing Option A - Walnuts
Crush walnuts in a mortar until they look like the picture on the left.
Add 2 Tbsp sugar to each cup of walnuts (you don't need much, 1 cup of walnuts can stuff close to a dozen). Add 1 tsp of orange blossom water and, if you like it more aromatic, a drop of rose water. Mix well.
Put the walnuts in the middle of the Atayef, roll it from both sides and, with your fingers, let the dough of each side stick to the other to close it tight. You are not done though...
Stuffing Option B - Ashta
Ashta is a cream heavily used in middle eastern desserts. It is available in stores as "Pok" or "Cream product".
My bro's recipe suggested I use smooth Ricotta cheese instead, add 1 Tbs sugar for each 250g of cheese and mix with a drop of orange blossom water.
I used a mix of cream and cheese and it was heavenly. You stuff it as per the walnuts, but keep them open on one side, sprinkle with crushed pistachio and you are almost done.
The Final Touch (then you can eat them)
At this point, they are ready to eat, but only after you drizzle them with Quater (sugar syrup).
To make it bring to boil 2 cups of sugar with 3/4 cup of water. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add a sprinkle of lemon juice, orange blossom water and rose water. Simmer for another 3 minutes and let cool.
Drizzle over the Atayef and enjoy for breakfast, lunch or after dinner dessert.
Replacement Chef, driven by a non-middle eastern DNA and a creative mind, wanted to experiment with the filling - "Let's try yogurt and chopped cherries", says RC. Neither the texture nor the taste worked. Not even cats wanted them so we had to pass them on to the neighbour's cat.
Thank you Bro & Replacement Chef!