Qatayef is a classic dessert most often served during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Those observing Ramadan will fast from dawn to sunset. The fast is intended to teach patience, humility, and spirituality. After the fast is broken then a major meal is served for the day and it is often followed by a wonderful dessert such as this along with Arabic coffee (think of a strong roast coffee infused with cardamom spice). Qatayef is an accepted English spelling, but it sometimes begins with a K. The common pronunciation is best described as dropping the Q with a soft ‘a’ at the first syllable. In Arabic there is often a formal pronunciation and spelling and then the way that most people say it which can sound quite a lot different. I’ve personally sampled this goodness and can vouch for how delicious it is. In American terms you might say this is a very small but fluffy pancake cooked on one side, filled with walnuts and cinnamon and then pinched closed after being folded in half. After baking or frying to crisp up the shell, you top that off with a very sweet syrup made from sugar, water, a little lemon juice, and a little dash of orange blossom water. A real treat. With the exception of the orange blossom water, these ingredients are readily available at your local grocery store. Here in Colorado it’s possible to get orange blossom water at the local Mediterranean deli which carries a variety of products from the Middle East, Egypt, Turkey, and other locales around the Mediterranean area. No doubt it could be ordered online as well. Please enjoy as I have. A special thanks to my lovely wife for her photography.


1 cup Aunt Jamima original pancake mix

1 cup flour

1 tsp of all natural yeast (Fleischmann’s)

2 cups warm water


2 cups walnuts

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp orange blossom water


2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp orange blossom water

Stir the yeast with 1 cup of warm water.

Mix flour and pancake mix in a bowl.

Add the yeast and water to the flour/pancake mix.

Add another cup of warm water to the mixture. Wisk well until smooth.

Cover with a cloth towel and leave in a warm place for half an hour. This lets the yeast do its work to make the batter fluffier.

While waiting , prepare the filling by grinding the walnuts in a food processor coarsely.

Add cinnamon, sugar, and orange blossom water. Set aside.

Heat a griddle (if electric to 350, if not on medium heat).

Stir the pancake/flour mix a little then start pouring it onto the griddle as you would for regular pancakes.

The top will start bubbling. Cook until all the moisture bubbles dry and remove right away. This doesn’t take very long so don’t step away and accidentally overcook it. The bottom will be a light golden brown. Remember that you only cook this on one side, but it is cooked long enough for the bubbles to dry and set up. Leaving one side uncooked gives the pancake the flexibility it will need later when filled and folded.

Remove using a spatula and put onto a baking sheet. You can double them up on the sheet (bubble sides together) if you need more space only after they cool down so they don’t stick to one another.

After they all cool down, start filling them into half moon shapes as shown in the picture by pinching around the edges to close them well. Don’t over-fill or they might break or it will be too hard to seal them shut.

Spread them on a lightly buttered baking sheet and add a dab of butter on top of each one. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown).

While they are baking you can prepare the syrup by mixing sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat. Stir a little until the sugar starts dissolving.

When it boils, add lemon juice and lower the heat and let it boil for 5 minutes. Then pour the orange blossom water and turn off the heat completely. Set aside.

Remove the Qatayef from the oven when ready. Some people dip each one in the syrup and serve them that way. Otherwise you can put them as is on each plate and let everyone pour their own syrup on top according to their liking. They are served hot right from the oven. Don’t use plastic dinnerware sets for this purpose.

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