This classical Arabian dessert was posted back in May of 2011… I’m revisiting it for a couple of reasons, first of which is the photography, then ingredients… I remember that time I made it, I had used a pancake mix because I was out of time… and the photography was a shocker because I had all 30ish guests waiting for me to bring out dessert!
A few points to make, Arabian desserts are not sweet. Rather, they heavily rely on rosewater syrup to make them taste sweet… In case you’re wondering, now you know why baqlawa, nightingale nests, knaafeh, qataayefs and the lot have that delicious stickiness to them.
Also, just a note about ishta (also known as ashta)… it is a type of “clotted” cream that is made by skimming milk. When milk is heated, then cooled, a skin forms on the surface. Peeling this away and placing it aside makes ishta. However this process takes hours, so a simpler “cheat” version is used in the recipe. What ever you do, NEVER make that version of ishta that uses white bread. It’s a shameful deceiver for us (slightly faking) genuines.
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbs sugar
2 1/3 cups milk
80 g butter, melted
1 cup thickened cream
3 cups whole milk
3 tbs icing sugar
1/2 tsp citric acid
2/3 cup unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice OR just under 1/8 tsp citric acid
2 teaspoons rosewater or 2 drops concentrated rosewater
Combine the qataayef ingredients in a large bowl to form a fairly runny dough. If it isn’t runny (to the point where it can be poured in one stream), then add more milk.
Heat a lightly sprayed pancake griddle/flat based non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
Pour a small amount of qataayef batter in one spot to form a circle, no bigger than 5 cm in diametre; do this to fill the pan so you’re making 4 or 5 at once.
Reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook the qataayefs on one side until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
When the top is bubbly, remove the qataayefs from the pan, don’t flip the qataayef!
Repeat this process until the batter is finished.
Next, add the whole milk into a small non-stick saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
Add in the citric acid to the milk and stir until the milk curds completely.
Drain the curds in a fine sieve and place in the fridge to cool completely.
Meanwhile beat the thickened cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form.
Fold in the cooled curds and place in the fridge.
Next, in a clean non-sitck saucepan add in the sugar and water for the syrup and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the syrup is clear.
Stir in the citric acid and rosewater and simmer for a few minutes.
Pour the syrup into a milkmug and place in the fridge to cool completely.
Prepare a small plate of milk to seal the qataayefs.
Dip your finger in the milk and run it along one half of a qataayef.
Seal the qataayef by pinching both sides together (where the milk was dabbed on).
Repeat this until all the qataayefs are sealed.
Place the ishta in a piping bag with a fairly large opening.
Pipe the ishta into all the qataayefs.
Dip the qataayefs in the chopped pistachios and arrange on a serving platter.
Pour over the syrup (closer to the opening of the qataayef so no one’s hands get sticky!)
Serve while still fresh as these become soggy in the fridge.