Qatayif with pistachio and rose

qatayif zoom in
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Their scent fill the air on Ramadan nights. The crunchy and gooey pastry that children lick their fingers after devouring, is easily one of Ramadan’s most favorable memories. Qatayif [quh-ta-yif] are a Middle Eastern delicacy that exude everything delicious. They are mini pancakes, folded up into sweet little dumplings. The crispy dough may hold within a variety of delicious fillings. For this recipe, I use my mother’s classic nut mixture. These qatayif are crispy on the outside, yet fluffy and moist at the same time. They embrace a delectable mixture of pistachios with cinnamon and sugar, are fried or baked to a golden crisp, and then drizzled with (ahem ok, doused in) a fragrant rose simple syrup that runs into every nook and cranny of this sweet pastry.

All over the Middle East, but especially in Egypt, qatayif, along with my other favorite, basbousa, are THE classic Ramadan desserts. Something about fasting all day and having blood insulin levels drop so low made the Arabs invent such incredibly scrumptious little pastries that will boost just about anyone’s energy and mood. Also, a lesser known fact is that qatayif are naturally a vegan treat! So go ahead and share this dessertwith a wide variety of your friends!

rose qatayif

The Dough

For me, the most challenging part of qatayif is making the perfect circle pancakes. I am not well versed with dough and making things symmetrical. But I have several tips and trick that will make this a cinch for anyone!

First of all, know that you can BUY freshly made qatayif pancakes at a Middle Eastern bakery during Ramadan. For those living in Egypt, it is uncommon to make the qatayif dough at home, because it is so easily accessible from countless bakeries on every street corner. I have found some places locally in Chicago that can make the dough, although it is not exactly inexpensive.

With that said, the dough batter is very easy to make, and whips up quickly in one blender. I do prefer my mom’s recipe more than the ready made dough because it has the perfect texture. The dough remains nice and crispy and when pouring the batter, it does bubble nicely. It is actually surprisingly easy to make the batter; the key is using good instant yeast. I use Red Star platinum yeast.

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Check out these tips for success:

  1. Use warm water, not hot and definitely not boiling. You want the yeast to be active and lots of bubbles to form on each pancake, this is how you know you have success with qatayif!
  2. First whisk the warm water, yeast, and sugar and let it foam while you combine the dry ingredients.
  3. As with all my baking tips for success: USE A KITCHEN SCALE! I cannot tell you how many times my batter came out differently and I had to add a little more water, then a little more flour to achieve the correct consistency. Using a scale and measuring in grams will ensure you achieve the best batter, with the same consistency, EVERY TIME. I include measurements in this recipe in grams for you. You’re welcome.
  4. Pour the batter onto a reliable non-stick pan, using a ladle. This ensures that every pancake will be the same size.
  5. To make the pancakes, you need to cook it on ONLY one side. As soon as the top bubbles and the wet batter is set, remove it. You do not want to completely dry it out because then it will not stick closed when you fold them shut.

The Filling

Traditionally, a combination of walnuts and other favorites can be blitzed to fill qatayif. My husband is allergic to every nut, except pistachios and because most Middle Eastern bakeries have all kinds of nuts all over the place, he can only eat mine, homemade:) I have since loved using pistachios because they have a beautiful, fragrant, and delicate sweet flavor! The ground pistachios should be pulsed until medium-coarse. I combine them with cinnamon, sugar, coconut, and sometimes raisins. I find the raisins to be a nice juicy pop, but one of my girls prefers it without. The filling can truly be as you like it! Another variation of Egyptian qatayif includes ishta, which is a creamy vanilla custard. These are called qatayif asafiri.

filling qatayif

The Syrup

lemon in syrup

Qatayif need a simple syrup made by simmering sugar and water with a dash of lemon juice. Some people add rose water, but every bottle of rose water I have ever bought smells so artificial and I quite frankly hate the taste. I do love rose, and I once received a lovely vial of pure rose oil from a pastry chef from Algeria. It smells so potent of roses, only a drop is needed to infuse an entire recipe! I love to use this in my syrup, or my latest hack of using dried rose petals or rose tea to simmer in my syrup. This imparts such a delicate and fragrant rose scent that complements the pistachio flavors beautifully in this dessert. I simply boil the rose petals in tea bags in the water, before I add the sugar. Then I proceed with the syrup as usual.

The Oil

Qatayif are traditionally fried. This is how you achieve the best results and ensure they are nicely crisp and golden, especially when making large batches. One of my least favorite parts however is how greasy fried qatayif can smell or taste. So my first remedy is to use a lighter tasting oil such as sunflower oil and grape-seed oil ( I usually mix the two). The other trick is to lay them onto a paper towel for about a minute to drain all access oil before dropping into the syrup. This way, I also know the dough is absorbing the syrup better.

If I am making a small batch for my family, I prefer to simply bake the qatayif in the oven, with a generous brushing of oil on both sides. Many people also swear by the air fryer. I guess that would be an ideal solution!

qatayif in oil

Rose and Pistachio Qatayif

These qatayif are crispy, yet fluffy at the same time, embrace a delectable mixture of pistachios with cinnamon and sugar, are fried or baked to a golden crisp, and then drizzled in a fragrant rose simple syrup that runs into every nook and cranny of this sweet pastry.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine egyptian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 36 pieces


For the Dough

  • 230 g all purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 30 g fine semolina (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c warm water
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Filling

  • 1 c pistachio (shelled and unsalted)
  • 1/2 c coconut
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c golden raisins (optional)

For the Syrup

  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 c water
  • 3 tbsp dried rose petals (in a tea filter) or 3 rose tea bags
  • 1/2 a fresh lemon, juiced (2 tbsp)


For the Dough

  • Whisk the yeast, warm water, and sugar together or blend on low in a blender. Let it sit while you combine dry ingredients.
  • Combine the flour, semolina, salt in a bowl.
  • Gradually add the dry mixture to the water and yeast mixture and blend on medium speed until well combined.
  • Add the oil last. Do not allow the batter to rest for more than 5 minutes. It will bubble and increase in volume.
  • Use a non-stick griddle or pan and set it on medium heat. Use a small spoon of olive and brush it all around the pan.
  • Use a ladle to scoop and drop a spoonful of batter onto the pan. Pour in one spot and the batter will expand into a circle. Be sure to watch the video for this part. You could even pour the batter right from the blender pitcher, but achieving the same size circles will require some precision in pouring.
  • Allow ONLY ONE side of the pancake to cook, watching for the bubbles to form on the top. As soon as the batter sets and is no longer liquid, remove the pancake and set it on a platter or tray. You want the pancakes to remain soft and sticky on the top so that you can fold them closed later, once filled. Cover the pancakes with a towel, and separate layers with parchment paper. You may set the pancakes aside for several hours before filling.

For the filling

  • Blitz the pistachos in a processor until they are medium-coarse.
    filling qatayif
  • Combine with all filling ingredients in a small bowl.

For the Syrup

  • Place the rose tea bags or dried rose petals in a filter in the water and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the rose petals and discard.
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, squeeze half a lemon into the syrup and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
    lemon in syrup
  • Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl until qatayif are crisped and ready to be dipped.


  • Take one pancake at a time, and fill the center on the sticky and bubbly side that was not browned with a teaspoon of filling. Leave the entire circumference of the pancake clear, so that it can stick together when folded and pressed.
  • Repeat the filling for all pancakes and set them aside, covered with a towel, until ready to fry or bake. If you wish, you could freeze them at this stage and save for frying later.
  • To fry, heat enough oil in a small pot on high heat. Make sure the oil has become very hot by dropping a crumb of dough and observing that it sizzles immediately. Place 3-4 qatayif into the pot and allow them to turn a dark golden color before turning over to the other side. You don't want to let it become too dark, but you also do not want to remove it prematurely when it is only yellow, as this will become too soft and soggy later.
  • To bake, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Dip each qatayif into a shallow bowl of oil, or brush each side generously with a pastry brush. Lay them onto a large sheet pan lined with parchement paper. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden.
  • Once it is a reddish golden color on both sides, remove it and set it on a paper towel lined plate to drain for a minute, before moving it to the bowl of syrup. It is important to set the qatayif into the syrup while it is still hot so that the dough absorbs the sweet syrup. Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange onto a platter.
    qatayif in oil
  • Garnish with crushed pistachios and dried rose petals. Best enjoyed while hot and crispy!


Unfried or unbaked qatayif can be stored in airtight storage bags in the freezer so that you can simply enjoy them later. Just fry and serve when needed!
Keyword pistachio, Qatayif, ramadan, rose

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