“Turkish Delight (Lokum) is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon; rosewater gives it a characteristic pale pink color. It has a soft, jelly-like and sometimes sticky consistency, and is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar or copra to prevent clinging.” (Wiki) Sometimes little pieces of nuts like pistachios, hazelnuts & walnuts are added too.
When I saw Ilva’s beautiful dream like Turkish Delight & Deeba’s bright vibrant ones, I was sure I had to give this a try. What I was not sure was if they were going to be a Delight or Disaster. Ilva’s first attempt failed, but she has done wonders the second time. Along with her pictures she has added her tips to making it, without which I could not have done it myself. I followed the recipe & Ilva’s tips to the T. Deeba says hers were tasty “but not exactly how it should have been“. They look fantastic to me!! I bet with load of nuts she added they were definitely heart breakers.
I am pretty happy with mine, mostly because I had no expectations. I was decided that they would fail but went ahead with it any way. The sound of candy thermometer freaked me out a little bit; I had never used one before. I bought one but did not open it till the day I decided to make the Delights. Well, the thermometer was a breeze. I had the laptop on the counter top and I have to say I have never ever followed a recipe as accurately as I did for this one. I read and re read every letter till I almost had it in my head.
Few Notes (things that I did) before you start:
- Stay focused & have the recipe almost memorized:-)
- Keep everything ready near you; you will need to work real fast till the final cooking for an hour comes.
- Use a small pan; it is easier to stir & manage. (from Ilva’s note)
- Use the lowest heat possible to cook.
-I sifted the cornflour & cream of tarter to get rid of the little balls the flour had.(not sure if it made any difference with this)
- Once you mix up the cornstarch, cream of tarter & water, before you start heating the mix, whisk it really well & check to see it is all well dissolved & lump free. At the very first sign of boiling take the pan off the heat & keep whisking it – I noticed that at this stage if I had kept it longer on the stove there would have been a lot of clumps.
- I poured in my sugar syrup in the cornstarch mix while it was off the stove; I whisked everything together hard & fast & passed it through the sieve. (Ilva’s Notes: “In order to prevents any lumps I suggest you to pass the mixture through a not too finely meshed sieve”),This was a big big help. If I had not done this I would have definitely ended up with a lot of big clumps which I know would have never dissolved.
- I had to take the pan off the heat quite a few times while the mix was still in a more liquid state. During this time I used the whisk & whisked continuously. After the mix dried up a bit (not the bubbly kind), I switched to a stirring with a wooded spoon. Once in a while I did beat up a few small lumps of the flour with the back of the spoon. I still had a few tiny particles, which we could taste in the candy, but a very few, and they did not much interfere.
The recipe comes from Claire Clark’s Indulge cookbook.
- makes about 40 pieces
- 450 g/ 1 lb caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 145 g/ 5 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tsp rose water(I used Orange Blossom Water)
- Lightly toasted slivered Almonds & Hazelnuts (Not in the original recipe)
- 250 g/ 9 oz icing
- 50 g/ 1.75 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
-Line a 15 cm/6 in square baking tin with cling film, then oil the film lightly. Make sure the sides of the pan are lined as well as the base.
-Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and 250 ml/9 fl oz water in a large, heavy-based pan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, the turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan, reduce the heat and simmer without stirring until the sugar reaches soft-ball stage (118 C/ 245 F). Remove from the heat straight away.
-While the sugar is boiling, combine the corn starch and cream of tartar, then mix to a smooth liquid with 250 ml/9 fl oz water. Place in a heavy-based sauce pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously (start to heat the corn starch mixture as soon as the sugar has reached the 118 C/ 245 F and is resting; this allows the sugar to sit just long enough to cool but not so long that it gets to thick to pour). Pour the hot sugar syrup into the corn starch mixture and continue to simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking. It will change to a very light golden colour. As it reaches the last 15 minutes of cooking time, you will need to stir it continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
-Stir the rosewater and add a few drops of red food colouring, if desired (I have used orange food color). Pour into the lined tray and spread evenly. lay to cool in the tin, uncovered, overnight.
-The next day, sift the icing sugar and corn starch for finishing on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Cut the Turkish Delight into cubes and roll them in the mixture on the tray.
I like to leave my Turkish Delight for a day once it has been coated in the icing sugar, so it firm up on the outside a little. Leave in a cupboard, uncovered, on a tray.
I know this was not perfect, and I have not a clue if the Delights tasted like the authentic, but we liked it. I was just glad that it was EDIBLE and tasted pretty good too! It was slightly gummy, (could have been more bouncy) but soft when bitten through. Right after it was done, it appeared sticky, but it got a whole lot better after they got air dried after cooking and a day after rolling them in sugar. I read in both Ilva & Deeba’s blog that it should be cooked for the entire hour. At 45 minutes the consistency looked like it was getting dry & tough; for the fear of creating ‘rock’ candy I switched of the heat but still kept on stirring for another 5 minutes in the hot pan.
At the end they turned out to be NOT as sticky; neither tough nor falling apart, just nicely firm. The main issue with mine was that I still had some solidified starch particles, but very small one & very few. They must have formed after the mix got passed through the sieve and I do not know how I could avoid that the next time.
The Taste: Too sweet for me; I can only take a small bite at a time. I think adding the nuts helped a lot in balancing out the sweet and I will add more nuts if I give it another try.
If I could do it right, I think the Turkish Delights would make such cute gifts in little boxes for the Holidays! I will keep on trying.