Growing up I remember not being too fond of Turkish delight. In hindsight I’ve really no idea why. It’s sweet, easy to eat and has a beautiful flavour. I guess I’ll just have to put it down to one of those crazy things that you grow out of as you get older.
Anyway, I decided to try and make Turkish delight as part of my quest to make Rocky Road from scratch. In the process, I’ve come across a recipe that I love and make quite frequently in its own right. True, it’s not the easiest recipe I’ve ever made but it really is more than worth the effort.
1 tsp lemon juice
175ml cold water
2-3 drops food colouring (red or pink)
1.5 tsp rose essence/water
For dusting 25g cornflour
50g pure icing sugar
Line a 22.5cm by 10cm tray or cake tin with plastic wrap. Once the tray is lined, give the plastic wrap a good coating of oil. Turkish Delight is amazingly sticky stuff so make sure you don’t miss any spots with the oil.
Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and stir together over a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Keep simmering the syrup for about 25 minutes until it reaches 115C or the soft ball stage.
About 5 minutes after the sugar syrup starts to simmer, put the cornflour into another saucepan and gradually mix in the cold water. Give it a good stir to make sure it’s all mixed in evenly.
Place the saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly. I have found that a flat bottomed wooden spoon is best for this as you can scrape the bottom of the saucepan very easily.
The liquid at the bottom will start to thicken very suddenly, as soon as this happens, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the consistency of the mixture evens out. Once it is even and smooth again, put the pan back on the heat and repeat the process until you have a very thick smooth paste.
Tip: If the mixture has lumps in it that you can’t seem to get rid of by stirring, the use of a whisk or beater can help to get rid of them.
Once the paste is ready and the syrup has reached the soft ball stage, remove them from the heat and pour about half a cup of the syrup into the cornflour paste. Mix well until the paste is smooth again. Repeat the process adding about a third of a cup at a time until all of the syrup is mixed with the cornflour and the mixture is smooth and even.
Return the saucepan to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, turn the heat down to low and continue stirring until it simmers gently.
For the next hour or so, stir the mixture once every 1-2 minutes while it simmers gently making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan 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.
After the hour of gentle simmering has passed, the mixture should be so thick that a path made by a spoon drawn across the bottom of the pan doesn't close up again.
You can test if it is ready by dropping a small blob of the mixture into a glass of cold water. Leave it for about a minute to cool before tasting it to check the consistency. When the Turkish Delight is done, it should be a bit firm and hold its shape well until you bite it.
Add the Rose water and colouring to the pan and stir thoroughly so that the colour and flavour are mixed through. If unsure of the flavour balance, cool another blob in water, taste it again and adjust as required.
Pour the mixture into the oiled plastic wrap covered tin. Smooth it out a little if necessary, and leave uncovered in a cool place for a couple of hours or until it cools to room temperature.
Mix your remaining cornflour and icing sugar together and sift a thick coating of the mixture onto the upper surface of the Turkish delight before turning onto a work surface.
Remove the plastic wrap and thoroughly coat all sides of the Turkish delight with the icing sugar mixture.
Using a large, sharp knife cut the Turkish delight into 2-3 cm wide strips, then in turn, cut these strips into the individual pieces. As you are cutting, dust each of the cut sides with the icing mix to help stop everything sticking together.
If possible, store the pieces of Turkish delight in a single layer in an airtight container with plenty of extra icing sugar.
Total time including cooling:
Recipe By Martin, Flavoursome Delights