Noah’s Dessert

Aşure

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    10

    or more

Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

It is said that when the Flood subsided, Noah created aşure by using up all the stores of grains and dried fruit in the Ark. Following tradition, it is always made in vast quantities and distributed to neighbours, friends and relatives. In parts of Anatolia aşure is made with bulgur or döğme, a recycled wheat flour made from soaked grains that have been pounded and dried, and barley is used in Istanbul. To make beyaz aşure, a white version, the water is replaced by milk. Although easy to make, aşure requires some advance preparation.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz/225 g barley, soaked for 24 hours in 4 pints of water
  • 2 oz/60 g short-grain rice, washed and drained
  • 2 oz/60 g haricot beans, soaked for 8 hours, cooked and drained
  • 2 oz/60 g lima beans, soaked for 8 hours, cooked and drained
  • 2 oz/60 g chickpeas, soaked for 8 hours, cooked and drained
  • 4 oz/120 g dried apricots, halved, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 4 oz/120 g sultanas or raisins, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 2 oz/60 g currants, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 1 lb/450 g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour, slaked with a little milk
  • 4 fl oz/125 ml rose-water

To Garnish

  • 2 oz/60 g dried figs, sliced
  • 2 oz/60 g dried apricots, sliced
  • 2 oz/60 g walnuts, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon currants
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method

  • Cook the barley in the soaking water (top it up if necessary) until tender. Add the rice, chickpeas and beans and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the apricots, sultanas and currants and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the sugar bit by bit, stirring all the time, until the mixture begins to thicken. Mix a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid into the slaked cornflour, and return it to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil again, pour in the rose-water and simmer for 10 minutes. Tip the mixture into a large serving bowl and leave to cool.
  • Arrange or scatter the garnish over the top. Serve cooled or at room temperature.