by rania

Kadayif or Katayif are Middle Eastern yeast pancakes that are filled and then baked or fried and drizzled with sugar syrup. The most popular fillings are Walnut (2 cups finely chopped walnuts, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon rose water), Ricotta (1 pound ricotta and 1 cup sugar), and White Cheese (below). I prefer the white cheese filling (Akkawe cheese). Akkawe is pretty difficult to find in the US, but your best bet is the Mid-Eastern grocery store. A decent substitute is mozzarella. Basically, you need a bland, nonsalty, firm cheese. My husband enjoys a nontraditional marzipan filling. The katayif are served hot with cold syrup.

For the Pancakes
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups flour

For the Sugar Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
drop lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water

To Fill
1 cup white cheese

For the Pancakes
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Set aside for 10 minutes (till the yeast is active). Gradually add flour, stirring to smooth the batter. Cover and set aside for 1 hour. The mixture should look like a bubbly pancake batter.

Spray a heavy skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter in to the pan, tilt to make batter even and round.

Cook only one side, but make sure top is dry. Transfer to a large plate or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter.

For the Sugar Syrup
Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup. Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Boil over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Before removing from heat, add rose water and let come to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate.

To Fill
Place a small slice of cheese into the center of each pancake. Bring one side over to cover the cheese (like a half moon). Press the edges tightly to secure. Spray a heavy skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Fry as many katayif as your pan can hold. Repeat in batches. (you can also bake the katayif, dotted with butter, at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted) .

Place warm katayif on a plate. Drizzle with syrup.

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