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It’s Not Ramadan Without – Jenan & Mama’s Palestinian Asafeer!

by in Culture & Lifestyle on 20th March, 2024

Asafeer, or Atayef Asafiri, are a Ramadan classic throughout the Levant region. It is said that they originated from the Abbasid Caliphate when the Caliph’s chef wanted to design a dessert that would keep him full for a long time. Now, they have become a staple throughout the month of Ramadan as a treat for those who have fasted long hours.

They’re a simplified version of traditional ‘Atayef’, a stuffed pancake that’s usually fried and dunked in syrup, usually eaten after breaking the fast, or for dessert and exclusively during the month of Ramadan. Asafeer, however, are the slightly easier, younger sibling of Atayef. They use the same batter but are half filled with cream, or Ashta (a clotted cream filling typically found in Arab desserts), dipped in crushed pistachios, and then drenched in rose water syrup.

For me, the presence of Asafeer on the table means that Ramadan has arrived. Whether my mum and I were making them to share after Taraweeh, or just for the family, the process of making them is always a joint effort. My mum would work on the pancakes, whilst I would fill them and pinch them shut. 

As I got older, my preferences changed, and I started opting for lighter desserts after iftar. Instead of the date, coconut, raisin and cheese-filled fried Atayef, I started craving Asafeer. They are just the perfect balance of textures and sweetness, made fragrant with rose water, to satisfy that post-fasting craving for something sweet.

This recipe is sponsored by Sainsbury’s as part of our ‘It’s Not Ramadan Without’ series where we take a peek into the homes and tables of different families in Ramadan, celebrating what makes Ramadan uniquely meaningful to them through the universal language of wholesome and delicious food. Explore a wide selection of quality ingredients needed to create delicious meals during this special time of the year— conveniently available at your nearest Sainsbury’s*.


  • ½ cup Fine Semolina 
  • 2 cups Flour 
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Baking Powder (heaped)   
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 3 cups Water (added gradually)


  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1½  cups Water
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 4 tbsp Rose/Orange Blossom Water

Fillings and Garnish

  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 100g Crushed Pistachios
  • Rose Petals


1. To a mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients, and give them a quick mix.

2. Initially add in one cup of water, then gradually add more water until the batter achieves a thin consistency, enough to pour and spread out just a little (so neither a pancake batter nor a crepe batter).

3. To make the syrup, add sugar, water and lemon juice to a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil on medium heat.

4. Once the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly, add in rose water, leave to boil for another minute, then turn off the heat.

5. With a tablespoon, pour the batter into the pan, letting it even out into rounds of about 6-8 cm in diameter (I cook about 3 at a time in my pan).

6. Let the batter cook on one side until it bubbles on the side facing up (about 20-30 seconds).

7. Whip your cream until soft peaks form and set aside. 

8. Once your pancakes have cooled, fold them gently in half, pinching from one end until they’re half closed.

9. Add your whipped cream to each pancake (about 1 teaspoon per pancake).

10. Dip each one into pistachios so that the cream is covered in a pistachio crust.

11. Drizzle with syrup upon serving and keep extra syrup on the side to serve to preference.


*Products available vary by store size/online. Subject to availability.

Jenan Ashi

Jenan Ashi

Jenan is a food writer, recipe developer & translator based in Wales. Her interests include promoting and pondering mindful, and sustainable living. She is also eager to shine a spotlight on the talents of others in creative industries.