Judging by my last few recipe posts, you would think that all I eat is dessert. Not true. In fact, I rarely eat sweets. It’s just that whenever I do whip up a nice looking dessert, it seems like an event worth a photo and recipe post. I figure that those recipes are far more interesting than, say, the chicken salad I made for dinner last night. Anyhow, please don’t concern yourself with fears that I am in danger of developing health issues from all the sugar intake.
Now without further ado, Turkish Delight! Ever since reading in C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I have been intrigued by this unique candy. Last summer, I had the good fortune of visiting Turkey, the originating country and mecca of Turkish Delight (or lokum, in Turkish). Once I returned home from the trip, I decided to put my cooking skills to the test.
Turkish Delight is made from starch and sugar, and usually rosewater. Rosewater can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores or the ethnic food aisle in many grocery stores (side note: rosewater also makes exquisite martinis when mixed with vodka). Candy-making is an art that I haven’t quite mastered yet, but with the help of a candy thermometer and lots of time to stir, what resulted was a batch of decent Turkish Delight.
4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×9 inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Line with wax paper and grease the wax paper. In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine cream of tartar, 1 cup corn starch and remaining water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all lumps are gone and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring when the mixture has a glue like consistency. Stir in the lemon juice, water and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has become a golden color, stir in rosewater. Pour mixture into pan. Spread evenly and allow to cool overnight (do not refrigerate). Once it has cooled overnight, sift together confectioners sugar and remaining cornstarch. Turn over baking pan onto a cutting board and cut with oiled knife into one inch pieces. Coat with confectioners sugar mixture. Serve or store in airtight container in layers separated with wax or parchment paper.