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Ramadan Treats: These Ricotta-Filled Semolina Pancakes Make for an Indulgent Suhoor

Photo: Sarka Babicka for The Jewelled Kitchen

These semolina pancakes are known as beghrir, which means “1000 holes.” The name refers to the multitude of holes that develop on the surface as they cook.

Semolina Pancakes
Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus rising

Cooking time: about 30 minutes


• 125ml/4 oz/1⁄2 cup milk
• 1 tsp dried active yeast
• 1⁄4 tsp caster sugar
• 100g/31⁄2oz/scant 2⁄3 cup semolina flour (also known as fine semolina)
• 50g/13⁄4oz/scant 1⁄2 cup self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• a pinch of fine sea salt
• 100g/31⁄2oz/3⁄4 cup blanched almonds
• 4 tbsp argan oil
• 2 tbsp clear honey
• 250g/9oz ricotta or ashta or clotted cream
• 30g/1oz honeycomb, roughly chopped

1. Warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat. Mix the yeast and sugar with 3 tablespoons of the warmed milk, then pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Reserve the remaining warm milk.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.

3. Add the remaining milk to the yeast mixture along with 125ml/4 oz/1⁄2 cup warm water, and whisk well. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, whisking vigorously until it is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

4. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for at least one hour or until the mixture is frothy and has doubled in size. If you are not making the pancakes until the next day, leave the mixture covered overnight in the fridge after it has risen.

5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 ̊C/300 ̊F/Gas 2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 5–7 minutes until golden, shaking the pan to toss them around halfway through the cooking time. Transfer to a pestle and mortar or a small blender and grind for about 5 minutes until you get a very smooth, wet paste, stopping to scrape down the sides every once in a while. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the argan oil and honey. Taste and add more oil and/or honey, if you like. Leave the oven on.

6. When you’re ready to cook the pancakes, whisk the batter. It should be the texture of double cream (thin with a little water, if necessary). Place a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat. Working in batches, pour 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan to create a thin, round pancake, about 7cm/3in in diameter, tilting the pan if necessary, then repeat, spacing the pancakes slightly apart. Cook on one side for 1–2 minutes until plenty of holes have developed, the tops have set and the bottoms are golden. Stack the first batch of pancakes between sheets of parchment paper on an ovenproof plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter to make about 24 pancakes in total.

7. To create half-moon shapes, seal the edges of the pancakes together by pinching them together only halfway along. Spoon a little ricotta into each pancake, then drizzle some of the almond butter over the top, sprinkle with honeycomb and serve.

Bethany Kehdy is a celebrated Lebanese-American chef, award-winning cookbook author, culinary anthropologist, presenter, and former Miss Lebanon (2002). The entrepreneur has cooked and consulted for restaurants, gourmet events, and high-profile figures the world over to full restaurant consultancies from New York to Mykonos. Kehdy believes cooking and eating should have no bounds and follow no superficial rules. Pushing the boundaries and dreaming up trailblazing takes on classics, neglected cuts and forgotten ingredients excites her. “I believe that cuisine, especially Middle Eastern cuisine, should evolve as it always has,” she says. “I also think it’s important that we become acquainted with the roots and history first in order to build on this knowledge and maintain the cuisine’s soul essence.”

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