At the studio, we’ve definitely got a bit of a sweet tooth, and December is pretty much the perfect time to indulge it. We’ve got the Christmas cake sat in a cool corner, being fed on regular occasions, but we also wanted to make something that was a bit festive, sweet, and ready to eat right now. We decided to go for Turkish Delight, as homemade sweets are something everyone appreciates: they’re great to have on hand if you have guests coming over, or if you have a family night in, and they’re also a lovely present for an appreciative foodie. We used Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking recipe book, which is great for this kind of recipe– there are recipes for over 10 different types of sweets, including marshmallows and lollipops. We settled on Turkish delight, because it’s hard to find nice Turkish delight in the supermarket – it always tastes slightly scented and overly sweet. The Turkish delight we made was definitely sweet, but not overpoweringly so – it’s quite soft and chewy and the rose taste is just there.
The lovely Rachel Allen gave us permission to post her recipe here and, if you like it, we’d definitely recommend her recipe book – there are lots of lovely recipes in there, not just for sweets! It’s quite an easy recipe: there is a stage right in the middle where you have a pan full of disgusting gloop and it’s impossible to imagine that it will ever be Turkish delight, but you have to keep going, and in the end you end up with a delicious final product. It’s easiest to follow if you have sugar thermometer, but it can be done without – there’s a crash course in determining sugar stages here.
Rachel Allen’s Turkish Delight
850g caster sugar
3 x 7g sachets gelatine powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp rosewater
Few drops red food colouring
75g icing sugar
You will also need a 20cm square non-stick cake tin
- Place the sugar with 500ml water in a saucepan on a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduced the heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes without stirring, until a sugar thermometer dipped into the mixture reads 125 degrees celcius. Alternatively, check the hard ball stage has been reached.
- In the meantime stir the gelatine, cornflour and cream of tartar together in another large pan. Measure out another 500ml water and gradually whisk it into the mixture, beating well after each addition, to form a smooth paste. Place the pan on a medium heat and simmer, whisking all the time for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
- Stir the lemon juice into the sugar syrup as soon as it reaches the correct temperature (standing back as it will sizzle a bit), Working carefully, gradually pour the sugar syrup into the gelatine mixture, whisking constantly.
- Place the pan on a low heat and simmer the mixture gently for about 1 hour until it reaches 110 degrees celcius in temperature or the thread stage. Stir frequently to prevent the mixture sticking to the plan, particularly towards the end of cooking. Grease the cake tin with the sunflower oil.
- As soon as the mixture reaches the correct temperature (it should be a deep golden colour), add the rosewater and food colouring and stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading out evenly. Set aside to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until firm.
- Spoon the icing sugar into a fine sieve and dust half of it onto a clean work surface. Turn the Turkish delight out of the tin and use a lightly oiled knife to cut it into about 48 pieces. Dust with the remaining icing sugar and toss the pieces about to coat generously. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.