13 August 2011

sugar & snaps: part 2
turkish delight

Following last week's post I’m ready to give turkish delight another go. It’s taken about three years to recover emotionally from the last attempt, but I have every confidence in this Hope and Greenwood recipe, as printed in oh comely magazine. I hope neither of those enchanting companies mind my reproducing and commenting on the recipe here; I’m a big fan, I’ll link to your websites at every opportunity, and I won’t make any money from it. Promise. Come to think of it, I haven’t made any money from anything in ages.

So, rose and pistachio turkish delight...

Note: this isn’t something to do with the kids. In fact, I wouldn’t even do it when they’re in the house. Boiling sugar scares the beegees out of me.

You will need:
groundnut oil, for greasing
900g granulated sugar *
1tbsp lemon juice
175g cornflour
1tsp cream of tartar
2tbsp rose syrup
2-3 drops pink food colouring
100g shelled pistachios
icing sugar and cornflour, to dust

* aka: a shed-load of sugar. I was stunned at how much.


Line a 20cm square baking tin 4cm deep on all sides with baking parchment and lightly oil it with groundnut oil.
Ha. This bit I can do. I’m totally on a roll.

Place the sugar, lemon juice and 340ml of water in a pan and put it over a low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring it to the boil without stirring and slowly, using your sugar thermometer, bring the mixture up to 118C. This will take about 15 minutes.
Okay, so now I know where I went so catastrophically wrong last time. I am far, far, far too impatient to wait for the sugar reached the right temperature. It took ages. Perhaps my hob heat was a bit low, but I was there for at least half an hour, if not longer. So I’m already a big fan of my sugar thermometer. She's a disciplinarian.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan (this one must be really deep and truly heavy bottomed), place the cornflour, 570ml of cold water and the cream of tartar. Give the mixture a good stir and place over a low heat.
Just like making gloop back when I used to run creative workshops for the under 1s. (What? You've never played with cornflour gloop before? With an under 1? Trust me, gloop + baby = fun.)

Keep stirring so that there are no lumps (it’s like making cheese sauce). Bring to the boil and beat quickly until the mixture looks like wallpaper paste. Take off the heat.
Hmm. Never wallpapered before. Don’t know what wallpaper paste looks like. Mine looks like this.

Place the cornflour mixture back on the heat. As soon as the sugar mixture has reached 118C, pour it over the cornflour mixture. Stir it well – it will look like an ocean of icebergs – and if any lumps persist, whisk them out with a metal whisk. Keeping the heat low, bring the mixture to a geyser-plopping simmer. Let it simmer like this for an hour.
Ocean of icebergs? Not quite (not that I’ve seen one). And by the way it doesn’t smell very good at this stage, very starchy. Bringing to the geyser plop takes quite a while too (not that I’ve seen a geyser either). This isn’t something to try if you’ve anywhere to go in a hurry. My un-airconditioned kitchen has now hit 30 degrees and I'm getting ratty. You'd probably picked up on that.

Take the pan off the heat, stir in the rose syrup, the pink food colouring and the pistachio nuts. This will turn the colour from a strange and unappetising yellow to a pleasant pink. Pour the pink blubber into the prepared tin and leave the Turkish delight to cool and set overnight.
So here’s where my guess work comes into play as I could only get rose essence and that super strong pink colouring paste. The mixture tastes quite nice and lemonish already, so I don’t want to overdo the rose essence. I try half a teaspoon. With the colouring paste I dip a skewer in the little packet and then swirl it about in the turkish delight. It goes a pretty violent pink. I think I’ll leave it at that. I have slightly less than 100g of pistachios, can’t imagine where the rest of the plate went during the past two hours.

Once set, cut into squares and dust with equal amounts of icing sugar and cornflour sifted together.
It worked! And not only that, but it worked beautifully and lusciously and deliciously and rosily. And it gave me quite the most sublime spoon-licking experience of my life (like I said, this is not a recipe to do with the kids around).

The only thing I'm not sure about is how to get the sort of "dryness" around each piece of jelly (as you find in the authentic stuff), so that the powder coats the cube rather than sinking into the jellyish wetness after a few minutes and making it sludgy. Perhaps it has something to do with the ambient temperature of my flat, which never drops below about 27C. I was going to give most of this away as gifts, but this powder/sludge interface won't be a good look by the time I see them next week. Hey ho, we'll have to eat it all ourselves.

Now if you’ll just excuse me, I think I need to go and floss my teeth... and de-sticky my camera.

I believe this recipe came from Hope and Greenwood’s book Life is Sweet.
I think I might need to find me a copy.

Linking in with life made lovely monday and sweet shot tuesday.


  1. Great job! Your photos are dreamy. Beautiful. I hope you were wearing a 50s pinny while doing this.

  2. 50s pinny? But of course, and my hair was in rollers under a silk scarf too! Pfff.

  3. wow i have never seen this before...looks beautiful and yummy..

  4. Thanks April, I think it's beautiful and yummy, but over the past couple of days I've learnt that it's an acquired taste (taking it round to a friend's house as a gift and getting the "yeh, I think my husband might eat it" style of thanks!). But if you like posh jelly sweeties, pistachios and the flavour of rosewater, then this is definitely one to try!

  5. mmm! amazing! thanks for sharing this link over at Hungry Homebody.



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