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Latkes: Syrian Filled Pancakes: Atayef - dairy, pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

This is adapted from "The World of Jewish Cooking," by Gil Marks, who notes that
"Syrian Jews enjoy these filled pancakes on Hanukkah and special occasions."

These are the choices and variations: Cheese or nut filling; baking powder or
yeast batter; enclosing the filling in one pancake, folded over, or sandwiched
between two pancakes; simple or flavored sugar syrup. There is also the option
to partially prepare them in advance and freeze them until ready to be fried.

Baking-Powder Batter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1-1/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups water OR 3/4 cup yogurt + 1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Blend together the wet ingredients and mix
them into the flour mixture. Alternately, place all in a blender and process
until smooth.

Yeast Batter
~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2-2/3 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar and
let stand about 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Add the remaining water and sugar, the egg, butter or margarine, and salt.
Gradually stir in the flour to make a smooth batter. Cover. Let rise at room
temperature for about 1-1/2 hours. Stir.

Cheese Filling
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
8 ounces of small-curd cottage cheese or drained ricotta
Optionally: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar.

Nut Filling
~~~~~~~~~~~
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or pistachios
2 to 3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1/2 teaspoon orange-blossom water
Variation: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; substitute 2 teaspoons water for rose
and orange-blossom water

Mix all of the ingredients.

Sugar Syrup
~~~~~~~~~~~
Yield: 1-1/2 cups, approximately
2 cups sugar OR 1 cup sugar and 1 cup honey
1 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring
frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer without stirring for about 10 minutes, or
until the mixture is syrupy (100 C/212 F on a candy thermometer). Cool. Store in
the refrigerator.

NOTE: Pour cold syrup over hot pastry or vice versa. This enables absorption of
the syrup, without causing sogginess.

VARIATIONS: 
-Add cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
-Add 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest with the sugar OR 1 Tablespoon
orange-blossom water just before removing from heat.
-Stir in 1 Tablespoon of rose water just before removing from heat.

Preparation:
1 recipe of batter and 1 recipe of filling yields about 36 pancakes

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil it.

Drop batter by the tablespoonful to form 3-inch pancakes. Fry only one side
until bubbles appear. Remove to a platter and cover with a clean kitchen towel
to keep moist.

Place a teaspoonful of filling on the uncooked side of each pancake. Either fold
each over and press the edges to seal or top each with another pancake to
enclose the filling.

At this point, the pancakes can be frozen. Do not thaw them before frying.
Simply increase the final cooking time.

Heat about 2 inches (5 cm) oil to ab out 375 F (185 C).

Deep-fry the pancakes in batches, turning once, until golden brown on both sides
(about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on
paper towels. Drizzle with cooled sugar syrup.

Ruth

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