Aşure, Noah’s Pudding: the oldest dessert in the world.
Aşure, also called Noah’s pudding, is a typical dessert much loved by Turks, Arabs, Persians, Armenians and Jews, but also by Greeks and Balkans, a preparation that embraces many cultures, traditions and religions. Traditionally, it contains wheat, legumes (chickpeas and cannellini beans), dried and dehydrated fruit, spices, all sweetened with sugar and honey.
Noah’s pudding, like many Turkish cuisine, has a history behind it.
Everything you need to know about Aşure
The legend of the sweet Aşure is linked to that of Noah’s Ark (Nuh in Turkish). It was precisely because of the flood, after the many weeks on the ark and due to the scarcity of food present, that Noah combined all the remaining ingredients and cooked the Ashure for the first time.
What he got was a delicious pudding that allowed him to feed him and his passengers until the ark finally landed on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. Aşure is said to be the oldest dessert in the world.
This dessert is still prepared today in all Turkish homes, at least once a year.
According to the Islamic calendar, the holy month is called Muharrem, but the date changes every year. And during this period it is traditional to prepare it and give it, share it. The tenth round of the month is Aşure, an important religious celebration (literally, in Arabic, Aşure means “tenth”).
But in traditional pastry shops and restaurants you can find menus all year round!
The purpose of Aşure is to share, to taste it in company, in friendship. A symbol of diversity that unites, that binds us to each other. So a sign of great wealth and peace.
Is there an official recipe for Aşure?
Each Turkish family has its own recipe, so there are hundreds of official recipes! There are those who add more chickpeas and beans, some less, those who add rice, those who don’t; there are those who prefer it darker, others lighter so they do not add dark figs and apricots, those who prefer it liquid and others more solid.
Although there is no classic recipe, there is a ritual to follow in the preparation of Noah’s pudding. Aşure must be made using a number of ingredients ranging from 10 to 41: if you don’t get there (it’s a bit difficult to get to 41) there is a trick: wildflower honey is added!
Our Aşure recipe
After introducing you to Aşure, we share our recipe with you.
Here are the ingredients: 500 g of wheat or barley (to soak), 200 g of drained canned chickpeas, 200 g drained cannellini beans, 3 tablespoons of dried currants, 3 tablespoons of almonds, 3 tablespoons of walnuts, 3 tablespoons of hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons of sultanas, 12 dried orange apricots, 12 dark dried apricots,
8 dried figs, 450 g of sugar (but it can also reach 900 g), 3 tablespoons of honey, 2 cinnamon sticks (one whole + one chopped), 10 cloves, 200 ml milk, 1 organic orange (zest),
2 tablespoons of rose or orange flower water, 1 pinch of salt.
pomegranate, pine nuts (or pistachios or other dried fruit), orange zest.
Preparation of the Aşure
Wheat preparation (better the night before): The night before, put the wheat (after soaking it in water) in a large pot and cover it with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat. Let it boil gently until cooked. Turn off the heat and let it cool in its water overnight.
The next morning, the grain will have absorbed most, if not all of the liquid.
Put the wheat back in a very large pot on the stove. Add the chickpeas, the cannellini beans, the coarsely chopped dried fruit, the dehydrated fruit cut into cubes, the cinnamon, the cloves (throw it all away, but shred the round part by hand), the sugar, alternating with hot water. and milk as it is absorbed. Bring to a light boil.
Add the honey, rose water and lemon zest. Lower the heat and gently mix the mixture with a wooden spoon until it thickens or reaches the consistency you want. Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon sticks and fill with single-pan dessert bowls or a large serving bowl.
Once it has cooled and slightly solidified, cover it and place it in the refrigerator for another 3-4 hours minimum. Before serving, garnish the pudding with fresh pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, chopped dried fruit, orange zest. It can be kept in an airtight container for 4/5 days without problems.