Friday, 4 December 2015

Turkish Delight (Naturally Free From Everything)

Here's another recipe in the Christmas gifts series: Turkish delight!

I'm going to be honest: I really don't like Turkish delight. I think it's vile: flower flavoured jelly. However, I do know that my brother really likes it, and it's associated with the festive season. Even thought I don't like it, it's a good simple and quick homemade sweet to give to someone as a gift.

Traditionally, Turkish delight is made my boiling a sugar syrup to soft ball stage, while simultaneously cooking cornflour, lemon juice, and water in another pot until it becomes gluey. The syrup is added bit by bit to the flour, mixing all the time, and then when fully incorporated it is cooked on a low heat for about an hour until pale yellow. The long slow cooking allows the acid in the lemon juice to work on the cornflour, chemically changing the starch. It takes forever, and uses a lot of equipment. I had given up on making Turkish delight when I found out that it was so complicated. But then I found another way of making it in a manner which I didn't expect.

I follow a lot of Indian cookery blogs and YouTubers: what can I say, I love curry and Indian sweets. Usually, when I watch a video that's suggested to me on the YouTube homepage, I also end up watching a load of other related videos that are shown in the sidebar, even if I don't know what they are. I came across a video for Bombay Halwa, also known as Mumbai or Karachi Halwa, which is remarkably similar to Turkish delight, but a lot simpler.

Bombay Halwa has more cornflour than Turkish delight and also uses a lot of ghee, but a quicker technique that doesn't require a thermometer, sugar testing, or multiple saucepans. So, I used the cornflour to sugar ratio from the Turkish delight recipe, and the water quantities and cooking technique from the Halwa recipe. The results were very good!

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Dairy (use substitute in italics for dairy free)
☑ Gluten
☑ Nuts

☒ Refined sugar products

  •  7 ounces (200 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes; 4 tablespoons) cornflour
  • 5½ fluid ounces (160 millilitres) water, or the syrup
  • 8 fluid ounces (240 millilitres) water, for the cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) rosewater, or 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) lemon zest if you don't like the rose flavour
  • Red or yellow food colouring
  • Icing sugar for coating
  • Cornflour for coating

  • Line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper, and brush the paper with flavourless oil. Alternatively, you can use a sillicone loaf tin and brush it with oil.
  • In a bowl, mix together the cornflour and the according water together until all the cornflour has dissolved and there are no lumps.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the sugar, lemon juice, and the according water until the sugar dissolves . Once dissolved, bring to a boil and cook until it had slightly thickened.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and add in the cornflour slurry (making sure to give it a little stir first to lift any cornflour that's settled on the bottom of the bowl). Stir until combined.
  • Turn the heat down to medium, and return the pan to the heat. Cook, gently but definitely bubbling, until the mixture has become transparent, thick, and gluey; about 20 minutes. You must stir often, otherwise it will burn.
  • Once it has become thick and jellyish, take it from the heat and stir in the rosewater and enough red food colouring to tint it pink.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and allow to set at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  • Once set, mix some icing sugar in equal parts with cornflour (about 3 tablespoons (45 millilitres) each) and sprinkle some of this mixture onto the work surface. Turn the jelly out onto the dusted surface, peeling off any paper.
  • Cut the jelly out with a long oiled knife. Coat each piece in the icing sugar and cornflour mixture. Keep in an airtight container with any leftover coating mixture.
  • You can also coat the jellies in chocolate. Dust off any excess icing sugar, and then dip in tempered chocolate.

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