Make your own gelatine-freeTurkish delight

2016-11-02 06:02
Exotic homemade Turkish Delight. Photos: SASHIKA PILLAY

Exotic homemade Turkish Delight. Photos: SASHIKA PILLAY

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A BOX filled with Turkish delight doesn’t always have to be bought from a shop. It can easily be home-made.

Turkish delight, traditionally known as ‘Lokum’ is best described as a square-shaped, rose petal-flavored candy, lightly dusted with icing sugar. This well-known confectionery is perfect for special occasions, best enjoyed after drinking tea or coffee.

The rich confectionery has an even richer history which dates back two centuries ago in a little shop along the bustling streets of Istanbul. Confectioner Bekir Affendi spent many hours in his sweet shop Haci Bekir, experimenting with different ingredients which resulted in what is known today as Turkish delight.

While similar chewy candies are believed to have existed before Affendi’s time, he enhanced basic candy recipes and it spread throughout his country. It was widely known to be popular among the Ottoman sultans as it washed away the bitter taste of strong Turkish coffee.

The sweet shop Haci Bekir still exists today and is run by his family. Despite the increase of imported candies, Turkish Delight still remains one of the most popular confectioneries in Istanbul. The popularity of the shop Haci Bekir has exponentially grown over the years and the family business exports boxes of Turkish delight to various countries around the world.

While many of the modern recipes use gelatine for a firmer texture, the traditional recipes are completely gelatine-free with an arguably better taste and texture.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Total time 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 50+

Ingredients

3.5 cups of sugar

4 cups of water, divided use

250g cornflour

1.5 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp cream of tartar

1.5 tbsp rose water

Pinch of salt

3 drops of food colouring

For dusting

1 cup of icing sugar

Method

1. Place 1.5 cups of water in a heavy saucepan. Add in sugar and lemon juice, stirring consistently until the temperature reaches 115°C on a candy thermometer.

2. In a separate large saucepan, add 2.5 cups of water, cream of tartar, cornflour and pinch of salt. Stir well.

3. Continue stirring while you bring the cornflour mixture to the boil. Once it becomes a stiff paste, remove from the heat.

4. Slowly add a bit of the sugar mixture to the stiff paste and whisk well. Keep adding the sugar mixture a little at a time and continuing to whisk between each addition.

5. Once the sugar mixture has been added to the stiff paste, bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

6. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 60 minutes stirring frequently (about 10 minute intervals). After 60 minutes, the mixture should be a light golden colour. Add in rose water and few drops of food colouring.

7. Line a square baking tin (about 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper. Pour the mixture into prepared tin and leave uncovered overnight. Do not refrigerate.

8. The next day, dust the Turkish delight with icing sugar and turn it out onto a surface which has been dusted with icing sugar. Cut the Turkish delight into small squares. Sift icing sugar into a medium-sized bowl and add the cubes of Turkish delight.

. Sashika Pillay is i-Express’ correspondent in Nelson Mandela Bay and a qualified reporter.

Apart from her passion for being creative with the written word, she is also enjoying coming up with new recipes.

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