Thanksgiving is a special holiday for my family, we are one of many political refugees who immigrated to the US from Afghanistan after the Russian invasion of 1979.

My family usually gathers at my sister Nabila's house for several days of family bonding over many delicious meals. I find myself taking advantage of my second to last birth order by letting others do the cooking and planning. However, this year I created a simple and easy pudding recipe to contribute a dish to our Thanksgiving meal.  

To justify sharing this Pom, Pear, Pudding on my Afghan Cooking blog, I created the recipe with ingredients commonly used in Afghan cuisine; chia seeds, olive oil, pomegranate, condensed milk and rosewater.

Since most Afghan desserts call for oil (mostly vegetable) instead of butter, I decided to join the food trend of San Francisco and use olive oil in this dessert dish.

Chia seeds come in black and white color

Chia seeds come in black and white color

After tasting the creamy pudding offset by the crunchy, flavorful chia seeds and graham cracker crust, I now understand why the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards use olive oil in their desserts. The pudding does not taste like olive oil but is enhanced by the fruity, nutty, sweet and tropical notes of the oil.

I hope you will add this pudding to your Thanksgiving menu. It can be made a day or two ahead of serving. I’ve also provided links to older posts that include Afghan side dishes and deserts that go well with turkey.







An Afghan Desert

12 whole graham crackers, broken
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup delicate, extra-virgin olive oil
15-ounce ricotta cheese
14-ounce sweetened condensed milk
1 ripe Bosc or Bartlett pear, cut in small pieces
1 ½ tablespoons rosewater (adjust to taste)
large pomegranate, seeded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine graham crackers and chia seeds in a food processor. Drizzle the olive oil into the processor as you pulse the ingredients in the processor. Blend until crumbs begin to stick together. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of a approximately 9x9 baking dish.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, condensed milk, pears and rosewater. Whisk until creamy. Pour the contents into the baking dish, bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds on top of the pudding. Save the remaining pomegranate seeds. Let the pudding cool to room temperature or if making a day before, refrigerate.

Distribute the remaining pomegranates evenly among serving bowls, add pudding on top.


Serves 8


                                   Olive oil production has returned to Afghanistan with the help of Italians

                                   Olive oil production has returned to Afghanistan with the help of Italians