I was introduced to Turkish Delight by my Serbian in-laws. The history of Turkey and Serbia, at one time, was intertwined. Though the cultures have since gone their separate ways, Turkey has left some marks on the Serbian culture. One of which is a love of Turkish Delight.
Before, I had only heard of Turkish Delight through a famous story book by C.S. Lewis...with the White witch's temptations of a small boy with the confectionery. I always wondered what it tasted like and was intrigued by the first box that my father in law bought many years ago.
The taste that stands out in a Turkish Delight is the Rosewater essence. It is a flowery taste that makes the candy taste exotic. Though a bit difficult to find, rosewater is a key element to making the true Turkish Delight ( I found mine at Bulk Barn....but it can also be found at Middle Eastern Stores).
In the past, I bought Turkish Delight from the store. This is the first time I made it from scratch and it was well worth the effort. I will definitely keep this recipe at the top of my recipe list...I hope you too will give it a try... and you too can experience why a young boy sold out his family just for one bite.
(from about.com : Candy, chief Elizabeth LaBau)
4 cups granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups water, divided use
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tablespoon rosewater
2-3 drops red food colouring
1 cup powdered sugar
(another variation of Turkish Delight is to add chopped pistachio nuts into the candy mixture at the same time as the food colouring to add more texture.)
1. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminium foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Add sugar, lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups of the water to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring the mixture to a boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, and insert a candy thermometer.
3. Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees on the candy thermometer.
4. When the sugar syrup is around 225 degrees, begin to get the rest of the candy ingredients prepared. Place the remaining 3 cups of water in another, slightly larger saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the starch dissolves and three are no lumps. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.
5. Once the sugar syrup is at 240 degrees, remove it from the heat. Slowly, carefully, pout it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking until it is fully incorporated.
6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking it every 8-10 minutes for about an hour, until the candy has turned a light golden-yellow colour and is very thick and gluey.
7. After an hour, remove from the heat and stir in the food colouring and the rosewater. Pour the candy into the prepared pan and allow it to set, uncovered, overnight.
8. The next day, remove the candy from the pan using the foil as handles. Dust your work station with the powdered sugar, and flip the candy onto the powdered sugar. Remove the foil from the back and dust the top with sugar. Use an oiled chef's knife to cut the Turkish Delight into small squares. Dust each side of the square with powdered sugar to prevent stickiness.
9. Turkish Delight is best soon after it is made. It doesn't keep very well, but if you want to try keeping it, store it in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers, and dust the sides with powdered sugar again before serving.