My favourite Ramadan dessert is the traditional Middle Eastern half moons. Typically after breaking our fast with a big and hearty meal, delicious pastries are served with tea for a dessert to round out the evening. Half moons (pronounced Katayef or Atayef in Arabic) are often the choice of pastry during Ramadan. They consist of a pancake like dough that is filled with a combination of tree nuts and raisins, fried and drenched in sweet syrup - a cure for any sweet tooth. Those babies do not apologize for what they are - pure sugar and fat, but you have to try one if only to experience food heaven. I am totally addicted to atayef (which means I'll be jogging for the next 100 years) and cannot stop at just one. My version is dairy, egg and nut free. They are just as delicious as the original; so delicious, in fact, that my family inhaled them right away, before they even got a chance to cool.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do and Happy Ramadan!
Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Half Moons (Atayef)
Yields approximately 40 pieces
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup soy milk or rice milk, warm
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheatlets or semolina flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 cup canola oil for frying
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
Start by making the syrup first. In a medium size sauce pan, combine 2 cups sugar and water. Bring to a boil on medium high. Let it boil for about 30 seconds then remove from heat. Immediately add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir and let it sit uncovered to cool completely. The syrup must be at room temperature before using. If you soak the half moons while the syrup is still hot, they will become very soggy.
In a separate bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.
In a small bowl, add sugar, yeast, and milk. Cover and set aside for ten minutes or until foamy.
In another bowl, add flour, semolina, salt and baking powder. Add the yeast mixture and mix gently. Add 2 cups of water, and mix until smooth. Keep adding water until the mixture is smooth and reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Just before cooking add baking soda and stir.
Put a small shallow pan on medium heat. With a ladle pour mixture in pan creating a small round circle, about 3 inches in diameter. Watch closely as it forms into a pancake. When the middle of each pancake changes from liquid to solid, it is cooked. Do not flip! Gently remove with spatula and place on a clean towel and cover with another clean towel. Keep repeating until all dough is used. The bottoms will be crispy when they first come off the pan (it's okay, do not panic), but as they cool they will soften. They need to cool completely before filling.
When cooled, fill each pancake with about a tablespoon of nut-free filling and close by gently pinching the edges together to form a half moon shape. Fry in oil in a deep pot on medium to high heat. Make sure the oil is fairly hot. It should bubble as soon as you place the halfmoons in there. When brown on both sides, remove and quickly dump in syrup. Flip gently for no longer than ten seconds and remove to drain. Serve immediately.
Halfmoons freeze very well. After you put the filling and close them, they can be frozen in a tightly sealed container or ziploc bag for 3 months. To cook them, do not thaw. Take them out directly from freezer to hot oil. Do not refrigerate/freeze once they've been fried. Store leftovers covered loosely at room temperature.
Nutritional Info (per 2 pieces)
Calories 203.59, Total Fat 3.45g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 82.17mg, Potassium 78.31mg, Total Carbohydrates 41.07g, Fiber 1.03g, Sugar 24.88g, Protein 2.58g
Nutrition analysis is approximate and will vary depending on exact ingredients used. Calculations are based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet. Nutritional Facts are obtained from Radium Technologies' Living Cookbook. However, Allergymom.ca has no affiliation with Radium Technologies and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.