Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

qatؓā’if (often pronounced ’aؓāyif in modern Arabic) is a crepe of considerable antiquity—the name may come from an Aramaic verb meaning “to make dough.” Today the qaؓā’if might be made like a Western crepe, but the traditional technique is to knead a stiff, leavened dough and then work in enough water so that it can either be rolled out thin or used as a batter or a dough.

The oldest qaؓā’if, typically fried and then rolled around a filling of nuts, appear in a tenth-century cookbook from the court of the Abbasid caliphs. A sweet called khushkanānaj min qaؓā’if maqlī (a cookie made from stuffed crepes) was made by frying a crepe just long enough to stiffen one side, with the upper side remaining tacky, so that it could be folded around a nut filling, sealed shut, and deep-fried. This sweet may have been a recent invention, because in North Africa it was called “Abbasid qaؓā’if.” It is still made in Arab countries; the Turks call it dolma kadayif.