Chris Vlahonasios is a law graduate from Victoria University and Orthodox media writer for TRANSFIGURE Media.
For the Greek Christians of Asia Minor, Assurè (Grk: Assurè / Arb: Ashure) was made on Christmas Eve as an offering to Christ and Panagia. These refugees brought Assurè to Northern and Central Greece. For Cretans, the Assurè became a dessert in the cities with no religious significance.
Assurè: Turkish Version
½ cup uncooked pearl barley
1 tablespoon long-grain rice
4 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
¼ cup dried figs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rose water
3 tablespoons chopped almonds
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1. Place the barley and rice in a medium bowl and cover with water 2 inches above barley mixture. Cover and soak overnight. Drain.
2. Place barley mixture, 4 cups water, and salt in a large saucepan, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 ¼ cups cooking liquid.
3. Place 1 ½ cups barley mixture and ¼ cup reserved liquid in a food processor; process 2 minutes. Return pureed mixture to saucepan; add remaining barley mixture, remaining 2 cups reserved liquid, sugar and next 5 ingredients (sugar through figs), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in rose water, and sprinkle with nuts and pomegranate seeds.
This dish is also known as ‘Noah’s pudding’ by Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Middle East. Here is it made in remembrance of the salvation of Noah and his family from the Biblical flood. Having spent so many days in the Ark, they were faced with starvation. Noah saved them by gathering the remaining legumes and grains he found and cooking them. That is why this pudding is a mixture of nuts, dried fruits, legumes, wheat, and sugar.
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