Thursday, December 13, 2012

Aşure or Noah's Ark Pudding

This past Sunday we made aşure, my favourite Turkish dessert, in my admittedly too-big-to-have-been-a-practical-purchase copper kazan, or cauldron.

Glamour shot: I was in the kitchen or with the kids all day, not actually manning the cauldron!
I'd been lured by the cauldron's beautiful details and craftsmanship.  I refused to even consider the smaller, plainer, more sensible cauldrons nearby.  As my husband and I struggled home from the Tarsus bazaar that day, each of us carrying it by one of its handles, the few hundred metres seemed further than they ever had.  But I still had no regrets.  This was going to be the best souvenir of our three years in Tarsus.

Fast forward three more years, and my beloved cauldron was still sitting on the terrace, upside down so that  it wouldn't collect rain.  Too dirty to bring into the house; too big to store kids toys or throw blankets; too dangerous to leave lying around (my sons might fall in!).  Meanwhile, C kept insisting we use it to actually cook something.  

So finally this past weekend, the kazan was cleaned inside and out, and firmly propped on top of our barbeque.  We opened our doors and made it an open house, inviting any fellow expats who were interested in seeing how aşure was made, and any Turkish friends who just thought it would be fun.  Everyone pitched in in some way, and the result was a delicious pudding that I doubt we'll ever be able to duplicate.

Aşure contains an unlikely combination of ingredients, which only makes sense when one learns the origin of this dessert -- towards the end of Noah's journey on the Ark, as those on board were running out of food, this dish was made with whatever was left.  And so the whole grains of wheat, chickpeas, dried white beans, dried apricots, figs, raisins, nuts and sugar, cooked separately and then added, combine to form a delicious albeit unexpected treat.  Traditionally, aşure month follows the second bayram or Eid, although some bakeries serve it all year round.  

We surprised ourselves with our yield -- over a hundred servings!  

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful — 100 servings. Your cauldron is beautiful, indeed, and I'm glad to read it finally made itself useful.
    I really must e-mail your mother. I haven't heard from her in ages.