The Pastry That Reigns on Our Top List
A Low-Fat Recipe
A while back, I was asked to name the 10 Best Lebanese Pastries. The Attayef Ashta is among them. It also tops in the Attayef category for being the most consumed.
The reason could be that it is lighter and less sweet than the other Attayef which come with different stuffings of nuts, and are fried or baked then soaked in syrup. Or maybe it is that delicious combination in the soft culinary textures that its ‘siblings’ don’t have.
While reasons could vary with individual tastes and preferences, two facts remain: The Attayef Ashta is the most liked, and the one among its siblings that has crossed the geographic borders to take its seductive place in many Middle Eastern pastry stores overseas.
The Attayef Ashta used to be available in Lebanon during the period of Ramadan and Eid. We used to wait for them. It’s no longer the case. The market demands obliging, it’s always available.
Made of flour and milk, with baking powder and instant yeast, the dough is cooked like thin pancakes of small round shapes, and only from one side.
The delicious Ashta cream, with its aroma of orange-blossom and light sweetness, is then scooped on. The Attayef borders are joined over the Ashta from one side with a little pressure that brings most Ashta to the front. We sprinkle it with Pistachio Nuts, garnish it with orange-flower jam, and drizzle it with syrup at consumption time.
May you enjoy it and cherish it as we do!
Low-Fat Attayef Ashta with Syrup
For the Qattayef Dough
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsps Instant Yeast
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Milk Powder Low-Fat
- 1 3/4 cup Warm Water
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
For 2 cups of Ashta Cream
- 6 slices White bread (American)
- 1 cup Powder Milk Low-Fat
- 2 cups Water
- 2 tbsps Corn Starch
- 2 tbsps Sugar
- 2 tbsps Orange-Blossom Water
For 1 cup Syrup
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tsps Lemon Juice
- 2 tsps Orange-Blossom Water
- 4 tbsps Pistachio Nuts grounded
- 4 tbsps Orange-Flower Jam (optional)
- Ice-cream scooping spoon (or similar)
Preparing the Dough
Mix well Flour, Baking Powder, Yeast, sugar and milk. Gradually add water and mix with an electrical hand-mixer until the texture becomes smooth.
Cover with a dampen kitchen towel, and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the Ashta Cream:
Making the Ashta Cream
Cut the bread in cubes.
Mix the powder milk with the water, the corn starch and the sugar.. Pour it all in a small casserole, turn on the heat to Medium, and stir continuously until it thickens.
Add the orange-blossom water, stir well, and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Making the Qattayef
Gently sweep a non-stick frying pan (or a pancake pan) with oil, and warm the pan on medium heat before proceeding.
Using a small scooping spoon, pour dough mixtures on the pan in round forms without extending them. Leave them on to dry and redden from the bottom only.
Remove them gently on a plate, and repeat the process with the remaining mixture until you get your 30 pieces.
Wrapping the Qattayef
Drop one tablespoon of Ashta (flatten) on the Qattayef, fold it from one side, pressing with your fingers for the bottom to stick together and the Ashta to show from the other side.
Sprinkle Pistachio Nuts on the Ashta, place a flower jam on, and set it on a serving plate.
Repeat the process for all your Qattayef then store in the fridge to cool.
Preparing the Syrup
If you are a regular of my recipes, you know what to do. 🙂 Otherwise, here is how:
Mix water and sugar in a casserole over Medium heat. Stir continuously to a boiling point. Gradually add the lemon juice and the Orange-Blossom Water, stir well, and set aside to cool.
At serving time, drizzle some Syrup on the Qattayef and serve cold. You may want to keep a bowl of Syrup by the serving plate for those who prefer to sweeten them more.