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:>>
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)
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.