Turkish delight

Turkish delight

By
From
Citrus
Makes
48 squares
Photographer
Mowie Kay

For me, Turkish delight is a Christmas thing – growing up it could always be found next to sugared almonds, dates (the old-fashioned sort with the plastic prong for spearing) and a large bowl of whole nuts waiting to be cracked. I also remember my father producing it at key moments during a reading of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. There is no getting away from the fact that this recipe takes time – make it when you are happy to spend at least an hour stirring away at the stove, preferably with something good to listen to.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
oil, for greasing
500g granulated sugar
1 bergamot or lemon, Pared zest, (or a combination)
1 tablespoon bergamot or lemon juice
125g cornflour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon rose water

To coat

Quantity Ingredient
50g icing sugar
50g cornflour

Method

  1. Lightly oil a 20cm square-sided tin. Line with plastic wrap and lightly oil again.
  2. Put the granulated sugar into a saucepan with 600ml water and the zest. Heat slowly, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Turn down slightly then leave to bubble away until you have a syrup that has reached the hard ball stage – you want it to be between 118 and 121°C. This will take around 15 minutes. Add the juice.
  3. Meanwhile, put the cornflour and cream of tartar into a saucepan with 500ml plus 2 tbsp water, making sure you whisk out any lumps. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to the boil. Keep stirring until it is well thickened, then remove from the heat.
  4. Strain the sugar syrup to remove the citrus zest, then pour a small amount into the cornflour mix, whisking it in thoroughly. Gradually incorporate the rest of the sugar syrup until you have a smooth paste. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat until the mixture is very gently simmering then stir constantly and steadily for an hour, or until the mixture is very thick, and when you scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pan, it leaves a clean trail behind it.
  5. To test whether the Turkish delight is done, take a small amount and drop it into a bowl of cold water. When it has cooled down, remove and give it a squeeze – if it is pliable but stays in a firm, unyielding lump without breaking apart, it is done. Add the rose water and stir over the heat for another minute or two until it is well combined. Immediately pour into the prepared tin, spreading it out as evenly as possible, then leave to cool.
  6. Mix the icing sugar with the cornflour – this will help stop the icing sugar from melting over time. Cut the cooled Turkish delight into lumps and toss in the icing sugar mixture.
  7. Store in a lined box that has plenty of ventilation – if you keep it anywhere airtight it will start bleeding until it all runs together in a sticky mess.

Variations

  • These are endless, but my favourite is lime or sour orange with orange blossom water. Simply substitute the citrus and use orange blossom water in place of the rose water. Another option is using lemon verbena leaves in place of the zest. In this instance continue to use the lemon juice.
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