Another Recipe Request…

Reader MHB recently wrote:

Hi! Merry Christmas! I’m looking for a recipe that my Aunt used to make around Christmas time. As far as I remember, it was a very white, soft, chewy dough (if I am not mistaken if was spread over a very large cloth). It had a very light taste of lemon, if I am not mistaken…. and we would cut it into pieces, and make small “pouches” filled with almonds, nuts, raisins, etc, and eat it….

Hmmm, we must admit, this description doesn’t ring any bells with us. After searching through our cookbooks, we came up empty. If this sounds remotely familiar to any of you, please email with your suggestion so we can post it.

Many Thanks,

R & D

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  1. Ara January 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Could it be "kaymakh", clotted cream? It could also be halva, which is made with semolina and usually drenched in simple syrup flavored with a little bit of lemon juice.

  2. Robyn January 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for your suggestions, Ara, but I don't know. MHB's description makes it sound like a filled pocket that can be picked up and eaten by hand.

  3. Ara January 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Yes, you're right. The other possibility is atayif: Although the link shows the atayif filled with cream, it could also be filled with nuts or raisins. Typically, the atayif looks like a small pancake, but if you're making it at home, I suppose you could just make a large sheet and cut it.

    More details! 🙂

  4. Robyn January 13, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Fascinating, Ara! Perhaps you've hit the nail on the head with this recipe.
    MHB, are you reading this? Could "atayif" be what you're looking for?

  5. Kitchen cabinets January 13, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Will plain cream add the same or more good taste in it,if used?Fantastic blog,keep sharing your recipes here,love trying and making them.

  6. Ara January 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The atayif "pancake" is pretty bland, similar to an underdone pancake, so just plain cream would not work unless you mix in some sugar or drizzle syrup on it. One of the advantages of clotted cream, however, is the fact that it holds its shape, making it easier to spoon on the atayif. But in a pinch, sure–make/buy the atayif, put some creme fraiche, drizzle a little honey or simple syrup, add a couple of nuts, dried apricots, raisins, and voila!

  7. NK January 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    My grandmother makes this "atayif", but she leaves the mouth open. Just as shown in the first picture in Ara's link…so you can see the cream…and sprinkles pistachios and pours syrup over it…Mmmmm!

  8. Ara January 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    By the way, so we're clear, I don't know if atayif is Armenian or not. The word itself is Arabic, but clotted cream desserts are quite common in Armenian and Turkish cuisines, the more so since, apparently, many 5-star hotels in Istanbul (Bolis) were held by Armenians in the 19th century. Naturally, any new dishes created there made their way into both cuisines.


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