Recently, my daughter, Adventurer Stacey, came home from more than six months overseas. Turkish Delight is one of her favourite sweet things, so instead of just buying the chocolate coated variety, I thought I would have a go at making it. It is a sticky exercise, but it does taste much better than the commercial version – and I don’t particularly like Turkish Delight! I made the mistake of putting some of the finished product in a jar though, it will absorb some of the icing sugar overnight, so in hindsight if I make it again, I will store it in a flat container. Adventurer Stacey didn’t mind though, she just dipped into the jar with a fork whenever she wanted a piece, no complaining there!
You will need two large heavy based saucepans for this, a sugar or confectionery thermometer, and a square (metal) cake tin. Spray the cake tin with olive oil spray and line it with baking paper, making sure there is overhang, you will need something to grab on to peel the paper off later.
Olive oil spray,
4 cups caster sugar,
4 cups water,
Juice of one lemon – strain and discard all the pips and flesh,
3 tbs powdered gelatine,
1 tsp cream of tartar,
1 cup gluten free cornflour,
2 tsps rosewater essence,
A few drops of red food colouring,
Sufficient icing sugar mixture (gluten free) to roll the cut pieces in, and to dip your knife – start with a cup, you might need two.
Prepare the cake tin and set aside. Place the sugar and half of the water in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat, do not stir any more as you could burn yourself severely. If crystals start forming above the level of the water, brush down with a pastry brush dipped in water. Allow to bubble gently for about 25 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 125 celcius. Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
While the sugar is cooking, mix the gelatine, cream of tartar and cornflour in the other pan. Use a whisk or a fork, and mix in a little of the water to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining water and make sure there are no lumps. Towards the end of the cooking time for the sugar, put the powder mixture on the heat, and cook, stirring all the while for approximately five minutes, until the mixture boils and thickens (it will be like a very thick custard, so if you don’t keep an eye on it, lumps will form).
Gently pour the sugar mixture into the cornflour paste, stirring. If it starts to separate, whisk vigorously, but take care not to splash yourself with the sugar.
Place back on a low heat, simmer, stirring occasionally. It should take about an hour for the temperature to rise to 110 celcius, or until the mixture becomes a light golden colour. If the temperature is just short of 110 (I only got mine up to 106), take it off the heat if the colour starts going too brown, as it is cooked. Add the rosewater, and colour to taste (it should actually only be pink, but I overdid it and mine was quite red). Pour into the prepared pan. Be careful again, as the pan will get hot. I set my pan on a cutting board to allow it to cool enough to put in the fridge. Once in the fridge, let it sit for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Now comes the sticky bit. Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board which you have lightly dusted with icing sugar. I turned mine upside down, and peeled the paper off the bottom, which was now the top. Lightly dust the top of the slab with icing sugar. Put the remainder of the icing sugar in a bowl which is deep enough to dip your knife into, but also wide enough for you to get tongs into. I found that dipping the knife into sugar made it easier to cut the mixture, as it is very sticky. Use as sharp a knife as you have (I used a filleting knife) and cut the delight into cubes, dropping the cubes into the sugar a few at a time (don’t crowd the bowl as they will stick together) and shake until they are covered, using tongs if you need to make sure the pieces are coated on all sides, and remove to a plate.
If you are serving shortly, you can leave on a plate, otherwise store in a flat container so you can separate the pieces when you need them. You will get quite a lot from this mixture.
Having made this once, I did like the jelly texture, so I am thinking of other flavours to make it in, and if I have the patience, wondering if the finished product would be not too difficult to coat in chocolate, I will keep you posted if I give it a try!