|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 224g||81%|
|Dietary Fiber 26g||93%|
|Total Sugars 119g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||12%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
You cannot visit Turkey without coming across a very special dessert called Noah's ark pudding, better known as aşure (aah-shoor-EY').
Noah's ark pudding is a cornucopia of healthy ingredients such as dried fruits, legumes, and whole-grain wheat that are sweetened with sugar and fruit juices and cooked all together in one pot. This pudding traditionally contains apricots, raisins, currants, figs, pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, chickpeas, and navy beans to name just a few ingredients.
Some cooks even add chestnuts, lima beans, bulgur wheat, and slivers of fresh coconut. Almost anything goes.
The Oldest Dessert in the World
Noah's ark pudding, like many Turkish dishes, has its own story behind it. Turkish legend has it that the first version of aşure was made by Noah himself. After weeks on the ark, the waters began to recede. As food stocks dwindled, Noah decided to throw bits of everything he had left on the ark into one pot.
What he got was a delicious pudding that kept him and his passengers well-fed until the ark finally rested on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. Some say aşure is the oldest dessert in the world.
In modern Turkish culture, Noah's ark pudding is a symbol of diversity, friendship, and unity. When cooks prepares aşure, they make a lot, as it's customary to distribute bowls of pudding to as many friends and neighbors as possible.
Aşure, the Turkish name for Noah's pudding, is associated with Ashura. Ashura is common throughout the Middle East and spans many cultures, traditions, and religions.
Ashura was originally a Jewish celebration marking the rescue of Moses from the Pharaoh during which Hebrews fasted. Sunni Muslims also connect this period during the year with the deliverance of Moses.
For Shia Muslims, the day of Ashura is celebrated a few days before Ramadan, during Muharram, the 10th month, to commemorate the martyrdom of al-Husayn, the son of Ali and Fatima and the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
Ashura reminds Muslims of the sacrifices the Prophet's family made for mankind. The Ashura period is marked by the donation and sharing of food and sweets as an act of communion with God and reunition with humanity.
We even heard that a version of Ashura is celebrated as far away as Haiti!
How to Make Noah's Ark Pudding
There is no set recipe for making Noah's ark pudding. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variations. You can use the basic recipe below as a guide.
You can adapt the ingredients and according to your taste or what you have on hand. Classic versions of aşure use rose water to flavor the pudding.
We like to add the zest of an orange and a lemon in place of the rose water for a citrusy flavor. Many cooks prefer the pudding plain with no added flavoring.
Whichever way you choose to prepare it, be ready to share your Noah's ark pudding with your neighbors, too. This recipe will make enough to fill a large pot.
3 cups uncooked whole grain wheat, or barley
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups canned navy beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup uncooked rice
3 tablespoons dried currants
3 tablespoons pine nuts
8 half dried apricots, cut into chunks
8 dried figs, cut into chunks
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest, from 1 orange, optional
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon, optional
2 tablespoons rose water, optional
Steps to Make It
The night before, put the wheat or barley in a large pot and cover it with plenty of water.
Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce the heat. Allow it to boil gently for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave the grain to cool and soak overnight.
The next morning, the grain should have absorbed most, if not all the liquid. Gather the rest of the ingredients.
Add the chickpeas, beans, rice, dried fruits, sugar, and optional rose water or orange and lemon zest.
Add more water to just cover the ingredients if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Stir the mixture gently with a wooden spoon as it cooks until it thickens.
Remove it from the heat and fill dessert bowls or a large serving bowl with the pudding.
Once it cools down and sets, cover, and refrigerate it for several hours.
Before serving, garnish the pudding with fresh pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, finely chopped dried fruits, and groundnuts.
Some prefer their pudding more watery, some prefer it stiffer. If you prefer a stiffer pudding, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin while the mixture cooks. This will give you a firmer pudding once it cools down.