Turkish Delight

I love Turkish Delight. By that, I mean the real thing, not those jelly-like galoops. With real Turkish Delight, you cannot use the easy way out and pop in some gelatine. No, my sweet,  if you want to make it the way the Turks do, you need a lot of patience and strong arms. You have to stir and stir and stir . . .

Turkish Delight

Makes about 25 – 36 blocks (depending on the size you cut them)

For the sugar syrup
4 cups sugar
1½ cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the cornflour paste
1 cup cornflour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups water

For the final touches
1 teaspoon rosewater
‘n few drops of red or pink food colouring (optional)
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup cornflour

Start with the sugar syrup: Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. I put in the sugar first, followed by the water and lemon juice. You have to pour in the liquid very carefully so that no sugar crystals form on the side of the saucepan. If you see some sugar crystals, use a brush with some hot water to brush it from the side. Bring the syrup to a boil until mixture reaches a temperature of 115ºC. Switch off the plate but leave the saucepan on it.

Mix the cornflour, cream of tartar and 2 cups of water in a separate saucepan. Use a whisk to break up any lumps. Continue whisking while you bring the cornflour to a boil. Once it becomes a gluey paste, remove the pot from the heat.

Add a small amount of the sugar syrup to the gluey paste and use a wooden spoon to incorporate. Always stir in one direction, clockwise. (Don’t ask me why – I don’t argue with the Turks.) Continue to add the syrup bit by bit, stirring between each addition. Put the pot back on the stove plate and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow to simmer very gently for about an hour. Stir frequently. I set my stove alarm clock for every 7 – 10 minutes and stir. The mixture should be a golden amber colour.

Take it from the heat and add the rosewater and food colouring. Pour the mixture into a square baking tin of 20 x 20 cm, lightly sprayed with oil spray and lined with two strips of baking paper, also treated with oil spray. Leave overnight or for several hours to set completely.

Sift the icing sugar and cornflour together. Dust the Turkish Delight with this mixture and turn out onto a working surface dusted liberally with the same mixture. Remove the baking paper. Cut the slab into blocks, using a lightly oiled knife and dust each block with the icing sugar and cornflour mixture. Put the blocks in a container with the rest of the icing sugar and cornflour mixture.

Please note: The container should NOT be airtight. DO NOT STORE IN THE FRIDGE!