Today I want to share with you one of my favorite desserts: Albanian Hashure made with farro, dried figs and walnuts. Hashure is a wheat pudding with dried fruits, nuts and cinnamon. You can make hashure with farro or barley and you’ll get similar results. My recipe is made with pearled farro grains.
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Hashure, Ashura, Ashure or Noah’s Pudding
So it seems the origins of this dessert come from Turkey. Albania was under Ottoman empire for about 500 hundreds years so no wonder we do have a lot of crossovers in customs and cuisine.
The historic origin of Hashure is that it is a pudding prepared by Noah in his ark with all the leftover grains, nuts, legumes & dried fruit.
While growing up in Albania, I had no idea about the Noah’s Ark connection or when it is typical to cook Hashure or Ashura. We basically cooked hashure anytime we had the ingredients available. Later on I learned about the religious connection.
It seems that in Turkey ashure is a dessert made on the 10th of Muharram as calculated by the Islamic Lunar Calendar. However, in modern days it is cooked more often and cooked in big quantities to always share with family, friends and neighbors. Read a little more about Ashure in this Wikipedia article if you’re interested.
Back in my native country, several regions associate hashure with prosperity so we too cook a lot and share with loved ones to wish them prosperity (begati). I haven’t lived in Albania for almost 20 years now (at the time of writing this post) so maybe a lot of things have changed since I left. I would love to hear from you in comments what do you think the dessert relates to current customs.
What is Farro?
Farro is a wheat grain similar to barley. I found only one brand in my grocery store, pearled farro. It looks exactly like what we called ‘grure’ back in Albania. Farro is used in several dishes in Europe and it is typical in Mediterranean foods. It can be boiled and used in soups, salads or ground and made into baked goods.
If you can’t find farro in your grocery store, check out this online selection.
Recipe Notes, Substitutions and Variations
This pudding is made with farro, dried figs, walnuts and cinnamon. Cloves add a distinctive taste as well. This is how I remember my mom making this recipe and I tried to go traditional this time. Below I will mention some ingredient substitutions and variations of this recipe.
- You can replace farro with barley.
- The Albanian version of this recipe only has one grain and no legumes, but Turkish variations of the recipe can include legumes, beans, chickpeas, rice etc.
- In Albania we mostly use dried figs and raisins on this recipe. I personally like it with dried figs. However, variations around the world can include other dried fruits as well as different methods to add dried fruits to this pudding. Some add them as toppings.
- Toppings in Albania usually are simple cinnamon and chopped walnuts, however I have seen recipes that are topped with pistachios, pine nuts, pomegranate, lemon, oranges etc.
- Recipe includes some starch because it will make the mass you’re cooking more pudding like. My mom used to like to add less starch than normal to the pot, but she used to cook the wheat grains slowly and smash some of them to the sides of the pot with a wood spoon in order to release some natural starch from the grains.
- I love cloves but their flavor can taste a bit strong to people who are not used to their flavor. So just add very few in the beginning when you try this recipe.
- Also, be careful with how much sugar you add to this recipe. Dried fruits like figs and raisins are already sweet so I would lower the sugar especially if you are sensitive to it. I personally use half the amount recommended and I still feel it is really sweet.
Step by Step Pictures
Please see below some process pictures I took while cooking this dessert. Hope they make the recipe card easier to follow:).
While farro cooks, chop dried figs and put them aside. Also, add some water to starch and mix well so there are no lumps.
Farro, Dried Figs and Walnuts Dessert – Albanian Hashure
- 2 cups pearled farro grains
- 0.5 cups sugar
- 2-3 tbsps cinnamon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves add less if you're not sure if you like this spice
- 2 tbsps corn starch
- 2 cups dried figs
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Inspect the farro grains for any impurities, clean them and then put them in a pot and cover with water. Leave farro in water for few hours. I usually add them in water in the morning so it can be ready to cook by the afternoon.
- When you are ready to cook hashure, drain farro then add them to a medium size pot. Add 6 cups of water. Please note that if you're cooking farro for a salad or other purpose you will only need to add 4 cups of water per 2 cups of farro. But since this is a pudding you need more water.
- Set to boil in high temperature then lower to medium. Add the cinnamon sticks.
- While farro is cooking, you can chop the dried figs. Also, mix the starch with few tbsps of water in a separate container.
- After farro has cooked for about 20-25 minutes, you can remove the cinnamon sticks. Add sugar and mix well.
- At this point add the dried figs and cloves. Let cook for another 5 minutes.
- Finally add the starch mix, keep stirring so no lumps are created. The starch mix will thicken the pudding. Let cook few more minutes. You can try to smash few farro grains to the side of the pot using a wooden spoon. This will thicken the pudding even more.
- Turn heat off. Let the hashure cool off a little bit than pour with a laddle into serving bowls. Top with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
- Place the hashure bowls in the refrigerator for about 2 hrs. Then enjoy and share with others:)
- Please note that since dried figs are very sweet I do add less sugar to my recipe.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin the below image to Pinterest. Let me know if you have any questions or tag me in social media if you made this recipe:). Thank you!!!
Other Mediterranean Desserts
Please check out the below recipes for more Mediterranean Desserts: