I cannot believe some peoples perceptions of what Turkish Delight is. What a disgrace!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have poured over many on-line Turkish Delight recipes, and it is astounding how terrible some are!
However, finally I found a good one, which I could use as a base for mine.
Basic misconceptions of Traditional Turkish Delight:
It does not traditionally contain gelatine, or cream of tartare.
I've had a few cracks at this and, quite frankly, if you would like a a gelatinous sweet, or a clumsily sweetened version with a smell and texture that rivals playdough, go right ahead and use recipes that include those ingredients. I wouldn't touch the stuff.
Turkish delight is chewy, sweet, and has a depth of flavour. Hints of toffee, musk, rose, and lemon. Depending on what flavour you wish to have dominate your palette, you use more of one or the other.
I'm just going to concentrate on rose.
1kg caster sugar
1 1/2 cups water, plus 11/2 cups extra
150g cornflour (I find this works best with wheaten cornflour
2 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp rose water
1/2 tsp mastic gum beads ground with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp red food colouring
1/2 cup of pistachios or almonds
vegetable oil for greasing, but not Canola Oil
You will need a sugar thermometer for this.
In a medium saucepan place sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water, and lemon juice on medium heat, and stir until it is all dissolved. Scrape down the sides of the saucepan with a damp pastry brush to avoid crystals forming.
Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until your thermometer registers 115-120C. If you have one of those wonderful thermometers that tells you what stage the sugar is at, boil until it reaches the soft ball stage.
Turn off the heat, and in a small saucepan mix the cornflour and remaining water on low heat.
DO NOT WALK AWAY!
This will thicken really fast, so keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Use a whisk if you like.
Once it starts to thicken take it off the heat and keep stirrring, it will thicken right up until it's a potato mash texture. Ie you should be able to stick your finger in it and leave an indentation.
Add this to your sugar syrup and stir until it all the cornflour mixture dissolves. This can take a while. To make it easier, transfer cornflour mixture in small table spoon lumps so you don't have to break it up in the larger saucepan. It dissolves a bit faster this way.
If you a really careful you could mix it with one of those hand held wizz sticks, but try not to damage your saucepan!
Place the mixture back on a medium-low heat and let it boil, stirring occasionally. Keep it on the heat until it goes a nice golden colour.
To check if the mix will set, drop 1/2 a teaspoon of mixture into a cold glass of water. Leave it for a moment, fish it out and taste. It should be a bit chewy. If it dissolves in your mouth, keep the mix on the heat.
Once it gets to that chewy stage take it off the heat and stir in the mastic gum, rose water, food colouring, and nuts if you choose to.
Pour into a greased square 22x22cm pan. I use a Pyrex square baking dish.
|mastic beads have a musky flavour|
Set aside and let it set over night.
Sift the remaining cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl, and sprinkle a board with a decent covering of the mixture.
Oil a spatula use it to turn the turkish delight out onto the chopping board. This will take a bit of muscle but having greased the pan or dish, it should make it easier. Just letting you know, there will be some pulling.
It will be quite elastic so don't be precious, once you get it on the board, just pull it back into shape.
Sprinkle more icing mixture on top and cut into 2cm sqaures and dunk into the icing sugar mixture to cover it well.
This will keep for weeks in a container or box which will allow air to flow through. Separate layers with grease proof paper with plenty of icing sugar mixture on top.
Mastic beads gives the recipe a slight musky flavour, and also helps a little to bind the candy. I mainly use it to flavour, as in most mediterranean sweet recipes. You can pick up musk beads from any good continental food shop. If you can't get a hold of it, it's OK, just use musk flavouring or omit it. The recipe will still work without it.
There are a lot of forums concerning weeping turkish delight. This recipe will not weep if you follow it well. Reasons for weeping can be that it wasn't left to boil away for long enough, too much water in the recipe, or in my experience, using a bad recipe which includes cream of tartare!
Another cause for weeping is setting Turkish Delight in the fridge. Do not do this!