A very Turkish Delight

December 27, 2006

So the second half of my Christmas gift was nothing but delightful. It was tested by a turkish tested tongue – a friend who has tasted real turkish delights from turkey itself and she said it was exactly like the ones she’d tasted before! I was of course delightfully happy 🙂

There are plenty of turkish delight recipes online and many of them use gelatin and cream of tartar so that it halves the cooking time. Using gelatin also guarantees that the turkish delight sets properly too. But gelatin is nothing but an easy way out. Thedownside of it is that because gelatin contains animal by product (eeks cow toe shavings!), your turkish delight’s lifespan is severely affect as well.

Now, my fascination and craving for this delicious gummy (originally non-gelatin) treat started with watching Edmund eating his turkish delight after requesting it from the White Witch, which in turn bewitched him for more and more at the White Witch’s dispense. For those in the dark, I’m talking about the Chronicles of Narnia. Since then i have had 2 failures in making my own because they either came out too hard or just agar-like and not chewy like i had seen it in Narnia. I contribute my failure to not having a candy thermometer – which is important because you do really need your sugar syrup to reach that soft-ball stage (115 degrees celcius) before doing anything else.

If you have seen the turkish delight in Narnia, you will see how chewy and soft it is that you can imagine it melting in your mouth at every bite as the rosy perfume permeates your entire nasal and oral cavity! You will know what i mean when you watch Edmund, I would so like to take that one delight off his hands.

With my candy thermometer and this really excellent recipe i procured from this site, aptly naming this candy Bites of Delight I made my turkish delight in victor. BUT… I needed to always add my own personal touch to it. Real turkish delight ALMOST always add dried fruits and nuts into it but I didn’t like big chunks of nuts floating around so I’ve decided to grind my pistachios into course powder and mixed it into my chewy concoction. Needless to say, it was excellent, especially since the pistachios were toasted and was very aromatic!

I forbid any of you to use gelatin as turkish delights are originally without it. If you find recipes that has gelatin in it, by all means toss it away into the virtual abyss. It’s ingredients are simple but it is time consuming and labouriously rewarding. And please, invest in a candy thermometer too, it makes life a whole lot easier (esp for food purists like me).

Here’s the recipe I adapted from the site:>>

1200g sugar
450ml water
3tsp lemon juice
150g normal cornflour
525ml cold water
3-10 drops food colouring (red or pink or deep red, or blue or green or purple etc)
5 tsp rose essence/water, or to taste ( you can get this at any arab/indian/mediteranean store)
Optional flavours:
100gs of pistachios, coursely pounded (you’ll need about 250g whole pistachios to get that)
For dusting, sift together:
25g (50ml) cornflour
150g pure icing sugar

Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and stir together gently. Place the saucepan over medium heat and gradually bring the syrup to the boil, gently stirring every so often. Lower the heat so the syrup is boiling gently and don’t stir it any further. It is advisable to wash down the walls of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush occasionally. This dissolves crystals that form on the walls and hinders the creation of large crystals in the sugar syrup.

– Keep simmering the syrup until it reaches 115C (soft ball stage), which should take about 25 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, check on how to judge soft ball stage. How? Well, google “check soft ball stage“, you’ll practically find all the info you need.

– Place the cornflour in a big enough pot and gradually mix in the cold water until all the cornflour is diluted. Heat it on medium heat, while stirring constantly until it reaches a pastey white glue. I would really suggest that you use a whisk, it makes your job easier as you do not want lumps at all. Take precaution as it takes no time for the cornflour mixture to turn gluey, so whisk at all times!

– Once you have that pasty white glue, take it off the heat. Add half of the sugar syrup and whisk till it’s properly combined. Then, add another half of what’s remaining and the final half. Just make sure you combine them properly.

– Place the saucepan on the stove and bring the cornflour-syrup mixture to the boil, stirring all the time. When lots of bubbles are forming at the bottom of the mixture (you’ll also feel or hear it as you stir), turn down the heat to very low. If the mixture boils vigorously then the heat is too high and you will need to use a lower flame, smaller hob, or a trivet-heat diffuser.

– For the next hour you will need to stir the mixture once every 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the saucepan well. If the mixture is boiling too fast, remove it from the stove occasionally while you stir it. Don’t leave it off the stove for long, though.

If the mixture boils too hard or is left unattended, it may fail disastrously in several different ways. As a rule of thumb, try to keep the temperature low enough so the fine layer of bubbles that forms on the bottom is simmering gently. Cook for 60 minutes.

– To test if your turkish delight is done, take a blob and drop it into cold water for one minute. It should be slightly chewy rather than dissolving in your mouth. Once you’ve reach that stage, pat yourself on the back, your turkish delight is 95% done. If not, cook it for another 15 minutes or so.

– Add the rose water, red food coloring and pistachios. Mix well. To test whether it’s rosey enough or not, just add a blob into the cold water again and then pop it into your mouth. Add more rose water if you find the pistachios overpowering. It should be a nice combination of both but not overwhelmingly so. Once you’re satisfied with it’s taste, pour it into an oiled plastic wrapped tray and let it set uncovered for at least 6 hours. Do not put it in the fridge.

– Cut the turkish delight into 1 inch squares and dust them with the cornflour and icing sugar powder.

I know this recipe seems long, tedious and complicated but trust me, it’s really not once you get the hang of it. The PLUS about it is that your turkish delight can last up to 6 months if stored properly but i doubt it’ll last that long when it’s so addictive! Just don’t finish it all at once since we DID use about 1200g of sugar in there.

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March 6, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

Good job…brillaint.

August 25, 2008 @ 7:25 am

i hope one day you’d be able to demonstrate it on a video!

September 7, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

Thank you for the post. Perhaps you can help with a problem I’m having in making these. Everything seemed to go well until the icing sugar stage. After dusting with the icing sugar, several hours later the icing sugar began to combine with moisture sweated off the set cube. Not the fine powdery texture expected. Can you give any ideas as to what was done wrong? Many thanks.

    June 21, 2015 @ 12:27 am

    I’d suggest using a higer corn flour to icing sugar ratio rather than the other way round when storing the turkish delight. That’s what i was told to do when i visited a Turkish Delight factory in Turkey. Too much icing sugar can make the sweet sweat. Or perhapse roll in corn flour first then dust with icing sugar

The Expedited Writer
September 8, 2008 @ 12:12 am

Hi anonymous, this happened to me the first time I tried making turkish delights too. I think one of the things I did wrong the first time was not using a sugar thermometer to get the perfect softball stage at 115C. Secondly, assuming you have done the whole process splendidly, did you just use icing sugar to coat your turkish delights? If yes, you must remember to add 25g of cornflour with the icing sugar to absorb whatever moisture that might permeate. Another tip would be to store these turkish delights in a container with a bit of space between each squares. Add a big sprinkle of the icing+cornflour dusting around the turkish delights to absorb moisture. Then, layer wax paper on top of turkish delights, dust with more icing + cornflour before pelting more delights on top. Also, while cooling your turkish delight, make sure you do not cool it in the fridge but in room temperature and wait until it is completely cooled (over night or 12 hours) before cutting and rolling it over the icing+cornflour.

By following these little tips and storing it and in cool place will stop the turkish delights from sweating. 🙂

September 8, 2008 @ 12:51 am

WOW. Thank you for the quick response. I did use an icing sugar/cornflour mix when dusting, but I’m not sure I cooked it long enough and I did put it in the fridge overnight 🙁 Oh well, live and learn. I’ll have to give it another go and I’ll let you know how they turn out. Thanks again for your help.

Malsy (THE Moe of DMOE)
March 3, 2009 @ 1:05 am

My girlfriend spoiled me with a box from Harrod’s! I just made a batch from your recipe!!! thank you so much. It is setting up beautifully! Since I cannot stand Rosewater (it brings to mind my grandmother’s hand lotion!) We made a batch of Lemon Pistacio. My kiddos say it smells like fruit snacks, and the lemon and pistachio compliment each other nicely! My six year old son who is a huge fan of Narnia was delighted making it and will love eating it too!

December 18, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

From the U.S. … Thank you for your great recipe. I have one question. I was using Corn-STARCH for my first attempt, but the results were a little lackluster. When you refer to Corn-FLOUR are you referring to Corn-STARCH? …

Elaine@A Series of Kitchen Experiments
December 18, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

Anonymous from US: Hi, cornflour is cornstarch. It's the same thing except that the name is used with bounds to countries. In US it's known as cornstarch, in UK/EU/Asia it's cornflour. If you're having problems with the ratio of cornstarch and icing sugar for dusting, I'd suggest just getting confectioner's sugar to use. It's the baker's mix of cornstarch and icing sugar made for dusting. 🙂 Hope this helps!

April 6, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

I have tried everything you have mentioned to keep them from not sweating (keeping soft ball temp using powdesuger/corn stach using partchment paper no luck to stop the sweeting ……help !!!!!!!!

April 18, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

I would be greatful if you can please post a video on YouTube that is simple to follow, shows all the different stages in cooking and also offers great tips on how to achieve the best texture and rose flavour. I herd that a few drops of unadulterated rose Otto can be used to flavour this dessert as rose water can sometimes be weak, if this is true can you advise which Otto is safe to use and which to avoid. I live in the UK and I am a Turkish delight addict. Thank you Elaine

August 3, 2010 @ 5:18 am


November 21, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

hi, thanks for this recipe! I made some yesterday and it's fantastic!!, ok there's some crystallised bits in it, but it still tastes great 🙂

January 27, 2011 @ 4:32 am

I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I have made the one on the waitrose website which worked well but they have crystalised. Is this because of the gelatin. You say to oil the tin is this before the clingfilm is put in or on top of the clingfilm? How do you stop it from crystalising?? Also what does the lemon juice do?
Thank you!!

January 14, 2015 @ 3:49 am

can i use potatostrach instead of cornstrach? 🙂

    January 25, 2015 @ 10:33 am

    Hmm…i am not sure, Alex. When it comes to making pastries, I prefer to err on the side of caution and stick to the original recipe. It is kitchen chemistry after all 🙂

February 28, 2016 @ 4:07 am

Basically creates the stickiest substance on Earth in my experience. Blech!

September 13, 2016 @ 10:45 pm

Hi there. My td has come out very firm, hard on the outside and ridiculously chewy. Any idea where I went wrong? Thanks


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