This could well be the oldest pudding in the world. The Turkish name aşure means ‘ten’ because you’re supposed to eat it on the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic calendar (which, being lunar, changes every year). It’s staggering how many important events need to be remembered on that date—Moses crossed the Red Sea; Abraham’s son Ishmael was born; Adam’s plea for forgiveness was accepted by God; the prophet Jesus was born; and Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the waters receded after the Great Flood.
It’s the last event that explains why the full version of this pudding has forty-one ingredients. To celebrate his return to dry land after forty days on the water, Noah cooked up all the remaining supplies in the ark—nuts, pulses and dried fruits, but definitely no animals—and shared the resulting stew with everybody who had survived the flood. We’ve simplified Noah’s recipe, but the spirit of generosity remains—you’re supposed to offer this dish to anybody who could smell it cooking.