Adventures in Turkish Delight

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Silence by Lizz Wright.

Well Edmund (and you, dear readers), you definitely had me scrambling. Turkish Delight is deceptively simple and adrenaline junkie's dream. And you'll get your week's worth of exercise in one go, believe me.

Here is the link to the recipe I used. Tweak as you see fit. I left out the part with the rose water and added a whole lot more to the powder coating at the end. Remember, me and rose water no likey each other. So let's begin!

I was so nervous. I had to take a picture. Remember, Beth Revis says Turkish Delight kills pans. This might be the last time I saw mine alive.

These are not innocent ingredients. These are ingredients of DEATH.

To help ensure the safety and possible life of my pan, I covered the entire thing in shortening (you're supposed to do this anyway). I may or may not have had a bit too much fun and may or may not have drawn math symbols into said shortening. Then I covered the pan in wax paper. And then - I greased the wax paper. Oh yes I did. Sugary goodness is not taking MY pan away from me!

Edmund! Do you realize what this recipe is?! All it IS is sugar, you little fiend! That and a little bit of water and corn starch and flavoring. Holy cow! No wonder you liked it so much. I'm going into a sugar coma just looking at it.

This is the consistency of the mixture once you add the flavoring and water to the sugar. A bit blurry, but I thought this would be the best way to show you visually what you are looking for here in your *ahem* sugar water turkish delight mixture (You'll notice from the sugar line it reduces a lot when you add the water and begin heating it). Take this to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Here is the simmer after the boil. You'll notice it has clarified a lot (so you can see to the bottom). This is where the long haul comes in. You have to wait for it to come to 240 degrees Fahrenheit (this is where you reeeallly want a temperature probe/candy thermometer). It's going to go degree by painful degree up. Seriously. I made a sandwich. And ate it. But don't go very far! And always always keep half an eye on it. Because when things happen in candy making, they happen fast.

While I was waiting, I started to prep the other pot. Throw it in with pizazz! That's half the fun. :)

Of a note, it started to bubble something fierce right around 215 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this is the first time I've ever made this, I thought it important to the documentation process. I am culinary scientist. Hear me roar.

I took it off right at the 240 degree (F) mark. It distilled very quickly (and began to lose heat). (Don't worry, that yellow thing is not anything that has fallen in. It's a reflection from something above it. So don't worry, it doesn't have to be a part of your recipe).

This is where the other pot comes in, with corn starch, cream of tartar and water. It looks like milk but it grows thicker quickly. In fact the recipe said when it got to a "glue" consistency, that was when it was ready (although that is slightly problematic because I started to wonder what kind of glue. Rubber cement? Elmer's?). It started to smell like glue even, but that could just be me, considering the aforementioned thoughts. :)

And this is where my mind jerked to a sudden thought. Beth Revis said Turkish Delight kills pans, so I was so prepped and ready with a pan as slick as greased lightning, but what if she meant a pot instead? Corn starch is a thickener and almost utterly tasteless (remember that if you ever have a sauce that is too thin) and I'd just dumped over a cup into this pot. This was my "oh no..." moment.

Remember how I said when things happen they happen fast? Yeah, that was this time. My fingers were covered in sticky goo and I barely had time to snap off this blurry shot before whipping the bejeezus out this sucker before it took my pot under its sadist grip.

Having a brightly colored whisk helps. :) I beat it into submission and it turned into a lovely smooth texture (albeit a very sticky one).

Yellow food coloring. I thought five drops would do nicely.


And here is where you may want to deviate from my own adventure. You see, the recipe said to mix it for another hour after it gets to the gloop of death stage. o.O You're going to have bi-ceps bigger than your face by the end of it. If you have any big or little helpers in the house, you may want to bribe/switch off with them. I was dying after ten minutes. Energetic music blared loudly is a great friend here. I recommend Jonsi. Or possibly Metallica.

Because in retrospect, this is where I think I made my slip. Because it says you can tell when it is ready when the mixture turns a nice golden color. And I had already added my food coloring. So I don't think I stirred beat into a bloody pulp for nearly long enough. Chancing a mad dash downstairs to my computer I pulled up a YouTube video to see the consistency right before they poured it. It looked the same. But remember, candy making is such a precise art and science. So I would recommend mixing it longer. You may have to graduate to a wooden spoon since my whisk was giving out. But this picture is still pretty close to what you'll see right before you pour it. It's only after the setting overnight you get to see where my real adventure began. :)

Still good! Look at all that sugary goodness, Edmund. It's so pretty...

Then something happened I'd never read about or seen before. You are supposed to let it rest and cool overnight. But not in the fridge. Apparently it absolutely ruins the texture. So I stuck it down in my cellar. That is supposed to give it time for the moisture to settle and distribute evenly through the batch. Most people are afraid of "sweating" which the extra time is supposed to prevent. But this wasn't sweating. This was weeping. (You have to admit, it looks pretty cool though). :)

Again, I don't think I mixed it long enough after combining the two together, not giving the liquid time to set up properly. So once it cooled down, it wept. Openly. I'll assume it saw The Notebook or some other equally sad show while I was out.

But! Determined I was! I just figured I would add a little more corn starch to the coating powder and maybe that would soak up some of the excess moisture. (By the way, several commentators on the recipe I used said the "dusting" they recommend is a bad idea. You need to give these things a veritable bath in the mixture. And after opening the OFFICIAL TURKISH DELIGHT - FROM TURKEY they were drenched in it as well as I presumed they would be since it will keep off moisture and help preserve them. So definitely go that route).

Ooooooo. Real Turkish Delight. *claps* Now for the comparison! (There were definitely more flavors than just lemon in their Turkish Delight).

Tada! I made it and both my pan AND pots survived (run them under hot water immediately after you are done pouring. It should save you from any heart ache/grief). Thanks so much for the adventure, everyone!


Lucia (iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books) said...

Oooh, fun post! I love The Chronicles of Narnia!! I've had a few kinds of Turkish Delight. Some enjoyable, some not. Rose water and other flowers don't really go well with me, either.

Meg said...

Congrats on triumphing over the Turkish Delight!

clairedelune said...

This was a really cool post! Love all the pics you included. Maybe I'll try this some day.

Bookish in a Box said...

This is so cool! I always wondered what Turkish Delight really was...

Charlotte said...

Your end result looks lovely! I hope you actually enjoy eating it...which I think is the major downside of T.D.