Wheat Berry Pudding With Dried Fruits and Nuts
Ashura is a kind of sweet food traditionally made on the 10th day of the month of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar. It is a symbol of abundance. It is made in large quantities and shared with neighbors, friends, and relatives. The main ingredient of Ashura is wheat. According to different beliefs, the number of ingredients can be seven, twelve, or even forty-one different kinds. This is garnished with currants, pine nuts, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Ashura, with its variety of ingredients is associated with the legend of Noah, and has always been referred to as Noah’s pudding in foreign sources. The tradition of Ashura survives with all its vitality today, and is also a popular dessert found in muhallebi shops all year round.
- 400 g wheat berries
- 100 g white beans
- 100 g chickpeas
- 50 g raisins, picked over and rinsed
- 4 l water
- 3 slices orange peel, finely chopped
- 100 g dried apricot, finely chopped
- 800 g sugar
- 6 dried figs, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon rose water, optional
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 100 g hazelnuts or walnuts, shelled and coarsely chopped
- 30 g pine nuts
- 30 g currants
- 60 g pomegranate seeds
- Rinse the wheat berries, white beans and chickpeas and soak in water in separate bowls overnight.
- The following day, drain and rinse the chickpeas and white beans. Boil them in separate saucepans until tender and drain. Remove the skins from the chickpeas. Rinse and drain the wheat berries.
- Boil the raisins for 10 minutes in a separate saucepan and drain.
- Boil the wheat berries in 4 l water in a large saucepan. Leave to simmer over low heat covered with a lid.
- Once the wheat berries are completely tender, remove the lid and add the boiled raisins. Stirring occasionally, boil for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the orange peels, then the boiled chickpeas and white beans and boil for about another 5 minutes stirring continuously. Add the dried apricots and the sugar and continue stirring until it comes back to the boil.
- When cooking, the consistency of the ashure should not be thick. If it is not runny and watery at this stage, add a small amount of hot water. The type of the wheat berries used determines the amount of liquid absorbed and the amount of water you need to add.
- Lastly, add dried figs and boil for about 5 minutes while stirring. Remove from the heat and add the rose water.
- Leave to cool in the pot half covered with a lid and stir occasionally to ensure skin does not form on the surface.
- Ladle the dessert into serving bowls. Once it cools and skin has formed on the surface, garnish with cinnamon, walnuts or hazelnuts, pine nuts, currants and pomegranate seeds and serve.
Boiled and peeled chestnuts can also be added to the mixture before distributing the ashure into cups. Do not add the dried figs too early or the color of the ashure will darken.