Atayer are a Middle Eastern dessert of filled pancakes served with a syrup. We have created a keto and gluten-free version of this classic pancake recipe.
These filled pancakes made a delightful change from the standard keto desserts of cheesecakes and brownies. Made with almond flour and air fried, they are an easy recipe that the family will love.
We lived in the Middle East for 5 years and making these was a delightful food and flavor flashback.
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WHAT ARE ATAYEF?
Atayef are also known as Qatayef or Katyfef and are a popular dessert in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. It is a type of stuffed pancake or dumpling that is typically served during the month of Ramadan and other festive occasions.
Traditionally, atayef are made from a simple batter of flour, water, yeast, and sugar, which is allowed to rest and rise before being cooked like a thin pancake or crepe. The cooked atayef are then filled with a sweetened mixture of either unsalted cheese or a nutty filling, such as walnuts, pistachios, or almonds.
The atayef are then either fried or baked and may be served warm or cold, often accompanied by a syrup made from sugar, water, and lemon juice. The syrup can be flavored with rose water or orange blossom water for an added touch of fragrance and sweetness. Atayef can also be topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or ground cinnamon for added flavor.
WHY WE LOVE THIS ATAYEF RECIPE
If you have never tried atayef you might want to try this recipe. They may not be as crispy as the original but they still have a lot of flavor:
- It's easy and fun to make.
- They have a distinctive taste that is fragrant, sweet and light.
- It's a lot lower in carbs and calories than the traditional recipe.
- A healthier version of deep fried pancakes.
- Have just 5g net carbohydrates per pancake against an average 28g net carbs for the traditional atayef pancake.
We used our almond flour pancake recipe to make these gluten-free atayef pancakes.
We used a filling made with cream cheese, Greek yogurt and sweetener. Other filling combinations you could use are:
- Ricotta cheese
- Fresh mozzarella
- Clotted cream (if you are in the UK).
- Chopped walnuts
- Chopped pistachios
- Chopped almonds
Once cooked the atayer are drizzled with a sugar free syrup. Make this ahead of making the pancakes. We used:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup low carb sweetener (we used monkfruit)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rose water.
The water and sweetener are boiled then simmered until thick in a saucepan. Once off the heat, the lemon juice and rose water are added. Orange blossom water can also be used but I couldn't find any on our island!
HOW TO MAKE KETO ATAYEF PANCAKES
When making these air fryer pancakes, it's best to make the syrup first to allow it to cool. Then the filling so you have it to hand to stuff the pancakes. Finally the pancakes.
When you make the pancakes, you only cook them on one side. Once you see bubbles in the batter and the underside of the pancake is firm and golden, remove the pancakes from the heat ready to stuff. You can cook the pancakes on a griddle or pan but we also use a Dash mini griddle maker for an even and round pancake.
Cook the pancake in a pan or Dash mini griddle.
Place the cream cheese filling on the uncooked side of the pancake.
Fold the pancake edges over and pinch together.
Cook in the air fryer or oven. Drizzle with a simple syrup to serve and chopped nuts.
If you make these ahead or have any leftover, keep the pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last up to 2 days but ideally are best served fresh.
Reheat the pancakes in the air fryer or oven for a couple of minutes.
- Small pancakes are better for filling and folding.
- Only cook one side of the pancake. The uncooked side helps bind the edges together after stuffing.
- We air fry our pancakes but they can be baked in the oven.
MORE LOW CARB DESSERTS
If you want a low carb dessert with a difference try these recipes:
Keto Atayef Pancakes
Sugar Free Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup monkfruit or other low carb sweetener
- 1 teaspoon lemon
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons allulose or other low carb sweetener
Make the Syrup
- Place water and low carb sweetener in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and rose water. Set aside to cool.
Make the Filling
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all the filling ingredients and beat or whisk until smooth. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to stuff the pancakes.
Make the Pancakes
- Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes
- Either spoon two tablespoons of pancake batter into a Dash mini griddle or in an oiled pan or griddle.
- Cook until you can see bubbles appearing and the underside of the pancake is golden and firm. Remove from the heat and set aside on a plate with a clean kitchen towel over them to prevent them from drying.
- Continue until all the pancakes are made.
Filling the Pancakes
- Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling mixture on top of the bubble side of the pancake.
- Fold the pancake over the filling and pinch the edges together to make a half moon. Repeat for all pancakes.
Cooking the Pancakes (Air Fryer)
- Preheat the air fryer as per the manufacturers instructions.
- Place the pancakes on their side in the air fryer basket. Lightly spray with cooking oil and cook for 5-8 minutes at 180C/350F degrees.
- These pancakes can be baked in the oven. Place the pancakes on a parchment paper lined baking tin. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 180C/350F degrees.
Serving the Pancakes
- Remove from the pancakes from the air fryer and place on a plate. Drizzle with the syrup and serve.
- Scatter chopped walnuts or pistachios over the pancakes to serve (optional)
YOUR OWN NOTES