Katayef and boiled wheat are the staples of St Barbara Day in Lebanon. I have written a post about the tradition already, but this time the difference is I am not in Lebanon anymore and I am trying to share this staple with Clint and the kids.
So I did my research and found a recipe for Katayef from scratch (as you can imagine they are not readily found in pastry shops in California as they would be found in Lebanon). I made them a day later than the actual St Barbara which falls on December 4th, but hey it is the thought that counts!
Not to mention that I had already boiled some wheat on St Barbara’s eve (which is usually when the kids go trick or treating and it is when people prepare the holiday goodies).
The Katayef recipe I found is made with Ashta (clotted cream), but the dough is actually the same for both. The difference is that the dough used for the walnut filling is made a tad bigger .
Katayef are usually served with a simple syrup (1:1 ratio of water/sugar) that some people flavor with rose water, but I prefer to leave it out because the walnut filling already has it.
I made the filling with a minimal amount of sugar because of the accompanying syrup and I did not want my Katayef to be scorchingly sweet.
Some dough recipes that you can find online call for sugar, but this is not a sweet dough, this is more of a neutral dough that serves as a bed for the flavors inside it. Some call for baking powder or baking soda but I did not feel the need for it, with the use of the yeast. Actually the dough came out perfect with the exact flavor that you can find in Lebanese pastry shops.
The link to the recipe is in French but I am posting the English translation with the additional directions for the walnut filling and some additional steps I did to make the cooking process easier.
It yielded 12 Katayef (the recipes states that it is for 6 persons, which is pretty accurate if you serve 2 per person).
Katayef with Walnut Filling
Preparation time: 20 min
Rest: 45 min
Cooking time: 10 min
Ingredients (for 6 persons):
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup of milk (I used non fat milk)
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/2 packet yeast (I used 2 1/4 tsp or 1 packet active dry yeast)
- A pinch of salt
- Ashta/ Ground pistachios
- Walnut Filling
Walnut Filling Recipe:
- 1 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts (a little round in the food processor will get you there)
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- 4 tsp rose water
(Or just taste it till it feels right to you)
- In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add flour, milk, salt and mix.
- Cover and let it restfor 45 minutes in a warm place. (You can wait more if you want).
- Heat a frying pan. Lightly brush the pan with butter. (I used a non stick pan with no fat whatsoever).
- Mix the dough and pour 2 tablespoons to form small circles. (I used a measuring cup to pour the dough).
- Cook only one side until bubbles appear on top and the bottom is golden.
- Put aside on a paper towel and let cool (covered with another paper towel).
- Repeat till you have no more dough.
For the Ashta Filling:
- Fold in half and pinch Katayef a bit with your fingers to form a pouch.
- Fill the pocket with a Tbsp Ashta.
- Sprinkle with ground pistachios.
- Add candied orange blossoms if you wish
- Serve with syrup
For the walnut filling:
- Put a spoonful of walnut filling in the middle of the Katayef and pinch it shut.
If you want to watch a video of how to actually cook the Katayef, I found an interesting one here.
Make sure not to over-dry the dough while cooking it. You need it to be a little sticky, so as soon as the top dries up, remove it from the pan. Adjust the heat accordingly throughout the cooking, but the best results are at medium.