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Sweet Delights for Ramadan

posted on: Mar 13, 2024

Qatayef. Photo: Wikimedia

By: Ziyan Qutub / Arab America Contributing Writer 

Ramadan, a sacred month, means spending quality time in worship, reflection, prayer, and connecting with the family and friends around you. In addition to breaking our fast with the suhoor and iftar meals, we feast on magnificent desserts. Ramadan’s sweets are as much a tradition as a treat. Here are some sweets to try if you are in the middle of celebrating Ramadan or if you are accompanied by a Muslim friend.

Qatayef (Stuffed Pancakes):

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Qatayef, a traditional Ramadan dessert, is a delicate stuffed pancake that is very popular in the Middle East. It is stuffed with all sorts of sweets, from sweet cheese to nuts and sugar, and fried or baked until crunchy. The pancakes are then soaked in syrup. Add a rose or orange blossom water for that signature Middle Eastern touch.

Basbousa (Semolina Cake):

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Basbousa, also known as revani, hareeseh, or namoura in some Middle Eastern countries, is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake that is moist and spongy and sweetened with a flavorful syrup. It’s made with fine semolina flour and gets its sweet taste from plenty of granulated sugar, coconut, and yogurt, all of which are mixed with a modest amount of butter and leavening agents to bring some lightness to the cake.

Dates and Walnut Ma’amoul:

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Soft and rich, Ma’amoul cookies are traditional Middle Eastern shortbread cookies filled with a mixture of dates and walnuts and shaped into beautiful molds. They are particularly popular for Eid al-Fitr and Easter.

Atayef Asafiri (Cream-Filled Pancakes):

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Atayef Asafiri is an adaptation of the well-known qatayef, where the crepes are filled with a rich cream blend. This luxurious sweet can be created by merging cream, granulated sugar, and a whisper of rose water. Serve iced cold, letting the cream solidify, and the flavors combine for an extravagant occasion.

Znoud el Sit (Lady’s Arms):

Znoud el Sit is a dainty pastry stuffed with sweetened cream or custard, rolled into slender tubes, and baked or deep-fried until it glistens gold. These sophisticated pastries are delicately tailored, often dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with syrup before they are served. Their name, Lady’s Arms, reflects their gracefully slender and immaculate appearance.

Rose and Pistachio Rice Pudding:

Enhance the traditional rice pudding by blending it with the fragrant aroma of rose water and topping it with a generous mix of finely chopped pistachios. This rich and fragrant sweet treat is a heartwarming addition to break the fast and is the perfect ending to an iftar gathering for an unforgettable experience.


To welcome those visiting your home during Ramadan, surprise them with the graceful, deeply rooted delicacies that make Ramadan so special, even though the month is partial to the tray of qatayef or the puff pastry curls of znoud el sit. Ramadan hospitality thoughtfully assembled, each dessert bears a unique serpentine charm made from those selfless kitchen acts. Take these little tokens of love to your friends and family, and offer them in the dark to craft together an endearing memory that flows past the evening feast.

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