If you’ve been following our blog, you know how much we love Turkish desserts and that we try to share as many traditional Turkish sweets recipes as possible. In this post, we’ll share the traditional Keskul Recipe, a quick-and-easy-to-make (and even quicker to eat) dessert. So, if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a dessert that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, keep reading…
What is Keskul?
Keskul is a delicious, creamy almond pudding recipe that consists of rice flour and corn starch flavored by pistachios. Even though creamy, it’s one of the lightest Turkish desserts and one that will leave you craving for more. Don’t believe me? Just try to stop after eating only one portion!
But this delicious almond pudding recipe is actually a lot more than just a tasty dessert. Its name and origins showcase an interesting part of the history of the Ottoman Empire of the late 19th century that at the time, was struggling to reform.
The origins of the traditional keskul recipe are related with many stories and legends but perhaps the most popular (and recognized one) is the one relating Ottoman officials walking around undercover as beggars. The governors would do this walking around the big cities collecting money in keskul bowls. The collected amount was used to buy groceries to prepare a creamy, caloric pudding that would be given to the needy in the same bowls (mainly because of its caloric value and nutrients) and would serve as an indication of the living standard and the well-being of the people.
The full name of this pudding was initially keskul-e-fugara, meaning a “beggar’s bowl” or “bowl for poor people”. All beggars on the streets had to have a keskul bowl and it was even forbidden to beg without one. However, with the reforms that later happened in the empire, the name of the dessert eventually evolved into just keskul.
Keskul was also featured in Osman Hamdi Bey’s famous painting, “The Tortoise Trainer”. In the painting, you can see a keskul bowl carried by a street beggar dressed in old clothes trying to train tortoises using a musical instrument. This painting is one of the most famous mockeries of the ineffective Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century.
After the decline and ultimate fall of the Ottoman Empire, the traditional keskul recipe became very popular and the dessert started appearing in the first versions of patisserie shops across Turkey. At the time, there were only a handful of them, they were referred to as muhallebici (meaning pudding shops), and they would serve only milk-based puddings. Because there were only a few of them, these shops were reserved only for special groups of people. People would visit muhallebicis for important meetings, friend gatherings but more than anything for dates with their lovers.
When a man wanted to declare love to a woman, he would invite her to a muhallebici. That’s why the ambient in these shops was intimate and cozy so that people could enjoy their pudding and have private conversations in peace. Today, there are thousands of patisserie shops across Turkey that serve different kinds of desserts but only a handful still keep the old charm of the muhallebici.
This easy-to-prepare delicious almond pudding is usually topped with shredded pistachio nuts, whole pieces of almonds, raisins, and/or coconut shavings for the finishing touches. The pudding is usually served cold, in tiny authentic keskul bowls, and is eaten with a spoon.
A Few Things You’ll Need For This Almond Pudding Recipe
- 1.5 Litres of Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Flour
- 120 Grams Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 1 and 1/2 Cup of Sugar
- 3/4 Cup of Crumbled Almonds
- Handful of Pistachios, Coconut Powder and Raisins (for the topping)
1. Beat the egg yolks.
2. Pour the beaten eggs, rice flour, and corn starch in a bowl and mix.
3. Add ½ cup of milk in the mix and continue beating.
4. Add the mix in a pot and start boiling. Stir occasionally.
5. After 3-4 minutes of boiling, place the peeled almonds in the pot.
6. Stir for a few more minutes and add the vanilla powder and cream.
7. When the pudding gets thick enough, remove the pan from the heat.
7.1 Tip: Use the egg beater or a spoon to check the density of the pudding. When you take out the spoon, if the pudding isn’t runny and drops little by little, it’s safe to assume that it’s done.
8. Pour the pudding in a jug and afterward, divide it into small cups.
9. Keep the cups in the fridge.
10. When the pudding gets cold, decorate the pudding with some pistachios, almonds, and raisins.
Serving Size:100 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 16.2gSaturated Fat: 5.3gTrans Fat: 0.7gUnsaturated Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 53.2gNet Carbohydrates: 53.2gFiber: 3.2gSugar: 44.5gProtein: 11.5g
How did you like our keskul recipe? Do you have other variations of this almond pudding recipe from different parts of the world? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
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