I love Turkish Delight. It’s not for everyone, but I always buy a small box when we visit Ogunquit Maine in the summer from the Harbor Candy Store.
Last summer I picked up the most delightful book, “Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook” by Liz Gutman and Jen King (@LiddabitSweets). I love this book. It breaks candy down into very simple (humorous) instruction but also doesn’t cut corners. It’s the real deal. If you buy the book (and you should) please make sure to check the list of edits and tips to the recipes which they have published on their website.
Liz and Jen have a recipe for the NON-EVIL type of Turkish Delight, the treat Janus the White Witch offered the ‘jerky’ brother Edmund in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. The recipe is complex, but straightforward and easy to follow and it is a classic recipe, not reliant upon gelatin.
From the book:
1. Special Equipment
o Small (9″ x 13″) rimmed baking sheet
o Heatproof spatula or wooden spoon
o Candy thermometer
o Large cutting board
o Cooking spray or vegetable oil
2. For the sugar syrup
o 3 cups (575 g) granulated sugar
o 1/2 cup (175 g) honey
o 1/2 cup (120 g) water
o Pinch of cream of tartar
3. For the cornstarch mixture
o 1 cup (150 g) cornstarch
o 1 cup (130 g) confectioners’ sugar
o 2 1/2 cups (600 g) water
o 1 teaspoon (3 g) cream of tartar
4. For the flavoring
o 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 g) rosewater
o 2 cups (300 g) shelled roasted unsalted pistachios (if you can only find them raw, check out how to toast them yourself on page 284)
o 2 or 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
5. For cutting and dredging
o About 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cutting board
o 1/2 cup cornstarch sifted together with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1. Generously coat the baking sheet with cooking spray, and set it aside.
- 2. Make the sugar syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, water, and cream of tartar in a medium-size (4-quart) saucepan, and mix with the heatproof spatula to
- combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and insert the candy thermometer. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260°F/127°C (hard ball stage), about 15 minutes.
- 3. Meanwhile (keeping an eye on the sugar syrup), make the cornstarch mixture: In a large (6-quart) saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, confectioners’ sugar, water, and cream of tartar to combine. Once the sugar syrup reaches 250°F/121°C (firm ball stage), place the cornstarch mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk; it will thicken and boil quickly, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the mixture on the hot burner; stir well a few times with a whisk, and set aside.
- 4. At this point, the sugar syrup should be close to 260°F/127°C (hard ball stage); when it reaches that temperature, remove it from the heat and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture. Stir well with the whisk to combine. Bring everything to a low boil over medium heat. Then reduce the heat to low and cook at a low simmer, stirring frequently with the spatula, until the mixture is thick and gluey and a light golden color, 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t turn your back on it! You need to make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula every few minutes to prevent scorching and lumps.
- 5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flavorings: stir in the rosewater, pistachios, and food coloring (if using).
- 6. Wearing oven mitts, immediately pour the candy into the prepared baking sheet. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the candy to prevent it from forming a skin as it cools. Allow it to cool until it has set and is firm and cool to the touch, 6 to 8 hours.
- 7. Gently peel off the plastic wrap. Dust the cutting board with the confectioners’ sugar. Run the tip of a paring knife between the candy and the sheet, and gently turn the candy out onto the prepared board.
- 8. Place the cornstarch mixture in a medium-size bowl. Generously coat a sharp chef’s knife with cooking spray, and use a gentle slicing motion to cut the candy into 1-inch squares. Dredge the pieces in the cornstarch mixture until well coated.
- Store the Turkish delights, layered with wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 month. (Flour Child note: I found airtight container did NOT work. The candy was moist very quickly again. I took it out of the container and dredged it again – and boxed it and gave it away same day. It stayed fresh on my marble candy counter.)
Pistachios – I was unable to find unshelled, roasted pistachios that were unsalted. I bought shelled, and unshelled them then roasted them at 325 for 5 – 10 minutes.
Directly after the two syrups are mixed – you can see it is light in color and glossy.
At the end of the cooking time, the syrup pulls from the edge into more of a “gluey” blob, it is also darkened to more of a golden color.
After adding rose water, a bit of natural dye and mixing in the nuts – it is spread into a pan and quickly a layer of plastic added.
Dredging through the corn starch / sugar mixture after cutting into squares.