Ashure, pronounced ah-shoo-ray, may be the oldest dessert in the world—if you believe the legend that gives the sweet its other name: the pudding of Noah. According to the story, it was the first food Noah and his family ate after setting foot on dry land. After 40 days afloat, they had eaten through most of their food stores. All that remained (other than two of each animal) was some grains and beans, which Noah and company cooked into porridge.
Today, the pudding is much more fanciful. There’s no set recipe really; it’s more of a concept: wheat or barley cooked with chickpeas and sweetened with sugar. Rice and navy beans are common additions, along with dried fruits such as figs and apricots. Flavored with orange peel and rosewater, it’s a rich, complex dessert. The pudding is usually poured into bowls and topped and decorated with any combination of crushed pistachios, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, figs, and apricots.
Pudding of Noah is popular in Turkey, where it’s shared during the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, to commemorate Noah’s safe landing. And as Noah’s story belongs to all the three major religions, it’s eaten across denominations. In the spirit of togetherness and abundance, neighbors and friends make it for each other in vast quantities.
Need to Know
In Turkey, this pudding is available at muhallebicisi, or milk pudding shops. Many people make as much as they can at home.
Where to Try It
Saray MuhallebicisiTeşvikiye Mah , Teşvikiye Cad. No: 19/A, Istanbul, 34400, Turkey
You can get food and drinks, but desserts are the real draw. Saray Muhallebicisi is a chain with locations throughout Istanbul.