Ataif – Walnut Stuffed Pancakes with Rose Water Syrup.

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Happy to have just made it in for this months The Cookbook Guru book of the month – The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden.

Okay, this one was really hard to get a hold of but persistence pays off.  I ordered it from one library who ordered it in from another library and finally…..

My thought was to go straight to the sweets section and make something from there. I’ll have a better look at the rest of the book a little later.

My mum and I have been making something very similar to these little stuffed pancakes for years and because the only time I follow recipes to the T is when I’m at work, I sort of combined the two recipes and ended up with these…

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Light pancakes with a sweet walnut and cinnamon filling with just a hint of rose water. I like them as they are but for the sweet tooth the syrup is thick, sweet and sticky.

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This recipe will make about 30 Ataif.

For the pancake batter:-

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water

1 1/3 cups plain flour

pinch of salt

In a bowl mix together the yeast, sugar, flour and salt. Add the water and use a whisk to mix it all together making sure there are no lumps of flour left. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for an hour in a warm spot until it’s all frothy. Give it a good whisk.

Lightly wipe a non-stick fry-pan with a little oil and put over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot pour in tablespoons of the batter a few cm apart so they don’t touch. You’ll only be cooking one side of the pancake. It’s ready when the top is full of little holes and it’s lost it whiteness. If you let it dry out too much you won’t be able to get the edges to stick together.

Place on a plate and continue cooking the rest of the pancakes.

For the Walnut Filling:-

120g shelled walnut pieces

50g brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp rose water

Put the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very fine. Add the rose water and give it another quick mix and its ready.

For the Syrup:-

75g water

150g white sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

1 star anise

2 Tbls rose water

Stir the water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan until the sugar melts, add the star anise and bring to the boil without stirring. Let it boil for 10 minutes until its thick and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the rose water then let it cool.

To Assemble:-

Take one pancake, put a 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of the filling in the centre. Fold in half and close by pinching the edges with your fingers.

Arrange on a serving dish with the syrup in a little bowl or glass.

Sound like  a big job but really its just pancakes. Anyway, every time I’ve made these people always come back for more so they’re worth the effort.

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Enjoy…

Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Pies

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I’ve got to say, I’m not a real big fan of rhubarb but these little pies turned out really delicious.

My husband and I went to the Growers’ Market in Pyrmont on Saturday. It’s only on for a few hours on the first Saturday of every month but you can walk out with bags full of goodies.

Our main aim was to buy garlic plaits to give as gifts, but you always end up buying other things.

I found some baby white turnips which I plan to pickle and a bunch of rhubarb that was meant to be poached, and half of it was. The other half ended up chopped, mixed with some beautiful fresh berries and baked in my favourite polenta short crust pastry.

Here’s how to make them…

For the pastry measure out 215g plain flour, 40g polenta, 60g castor sugar and 175g butter and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs (takes only a few seconds) then add 1 egg and 1 Tblsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 an hour.

Now roll out the pastry and line either 1 large loose bottom pie tin or 6 small ones, leaving enough pastry for the top, and chill.

Roll out the left over pastry and cut into thin strips. Leave aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together 180g fresh mixed berries (I used blackberries, chopped strawberries and blueberries, but any combination will work), 200g rhubarb (chopped into 1cm thick slices), 180g castor sugar, 2 Tblsp plain flour and gently mix.

Spoon the filling evenly into the chilled pastry lined tart tins and lay the thin strips over the top however you like.

Bake at 200c for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 180c and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until cooked and golden brown.

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Yummy on its own or with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

you’ve got to give this a go….

Enjoy…

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