This version resembles the Moroccan baghreer, a crêpe made with semolina and yogurt and eaten with honey for breakfast; the pancakes are cooked on one side only and then stuffed; here, they can be simply baked a few minutes in the oven to melt the cheese (or a few seconds in the microwave), and doused with as much syrup as your heart desires. No frying involved; the ataîef are light and billowy and eating a few in one sitting does not feel like a major sin.
INGREDIENTS (For the batter) Yield about 25 pancakes
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of fine semolina
- 1 tablespoon of powdered whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- Dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon of instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 Large egg
- 2 cups of warm water (add more water if the batter is too thick, it should be a bit on the loose side)
- Place the yeast in a small bowl, add the sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water and stir; set aside and let it bubble up.
- Place the flour, semolina, baking soda, salt and powdered milk in the bowl of a mixer. Combine well. Add the warm water and the egg (previously beaten lightly) and then the proofed yeast mixture. The mixture should be like a thin pancake in consistency; if too thick, add a bit of warm water. Try to get the mixture as smooth as possible, if needed run it through a sieve to get it smoother. Cover and let it rise for 3 hours.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet (if you have one, or a nonstick) until hot. Dap a paper napkin in oil and brush it on the surface of the skillet. Take a large serving spoon (volume:1/4 cup), fill it with batter and pour it gently on the skillet, letting a circle form. Cook on one side until the bubbles form and the surface is dull. If the pancake is cooked all around, except in the center, don’t worry, pull it out and the residual heat will cook the center in a few seconds. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
- Fill with the cheese or walnuts and pinch firmly to seal. Cover with plastic wrap until serving time. When ready to serve, either heat in a 325Foven for 10 minutes or in the microwave for 20 seconds per pancake. Serve with the syrup on the side.
Recipe for the batter adapted from May Bsisu’s The Arab Table. (I added more water).
NOTE: A walnut filling would consist of walnut, chopped, with a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of orange blossom water (or) rosewater. The nuts can be substituted with pistachios or pecans.
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