Foodie Week! Turkish Delight

Hi Leaguers! Well, next week is Thanksgiving, and we here at the League are thankful for two things: food and time off. So we're taking next week off, and this week we're celebrating our favorite food from books!

I know we're supposed to be all about dystopian and sci fi and all...but guys? Sci fi food sometimes grosses me out, and they don't eat good stuff at the end of the world. So I'm going to dip my toe in fantasy and today I'll be showing you how to make my favorite fantasy treat: Turkish Delight.

My favorite books of all time are the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. They influenced my life in ways I can't even describe. As such, I've always been a little jealous of this guy:

NOT because he gets tempted by the witch, betrays his whole family, MISSES PRESENTS FROM SANTA CLAUS, and is basically responsible for every bad thing in the first book--but all because he gets this:

This, my friends, is a massive amount of sugar-filled Turkish Delight.

So, first things first: I needed a recipe. I tried to make Turkish Delight once before failed miserably. Y'all, I had to throw out the pan.

But...Turkish Delight is hard to make. There's ingredients from, I dunno, Turkey or something, and I don't know how to make or get Rose Water. I briefly considered dunking roses in water, but then I found this recipe from that uses gelatin instead of Rose Water and other exotic ingredients.

First things first: I gathered ingredients:
You'll note that I have vanilla and a candy thermometer in the pic--
I was going to try a more complicated recipe before I said, "screw that" and took the easier route.

Then I started following the recipe. I'll just go ahead here and say that if you decide to follow my footsteps and use this recipe...don't. Or at least re-translate it into easier to read directions. The ingredients list requires separating several ingredients and argh.

So: Step One--soften three packs of unflavored gelatin in some apple juice.

Unflavored gelatine apparently has no flavor...but it does kinda stink. Yuck.

Next step: boil apple juice and sugar. Things are going swimmingly at this point. I didn't take a picture of that--it's just boiling juice. While the juice and sugar boiled, I mixed lemon juice, lime juice, and cornstarch.

This is the beginning of the end. You can't tell from that innocent picture above, but guys--that cornstarch turned rock-hard with the juice. Eventually--miraculously?--it sort of liquified, but this was a sign of things to come, I fear.

Meanwhile, the gelatin was "softening." Which I guess is fancy cook speak for "turning into a crumbly smelly mess":

Next step: mix the boiling juice-sugar mixture with the "softened" gelatine and the cornstarch mess.

Can you tell what's in the pan? Somehow, once I mixed everything all sort of lumpy-fied. There's chunks of gelatin and long thin slivers of cornstarch mix. I stirred as fast as I could, then upgraded to a whisk, but I never could get all those lumps out. I actually think it would have gone better if I'd softened the gelatin for a lot less time, and if I shook the cornstarch into the mix slowly (like how you make gravy) instead of dumping it in as a thick liquid.

Next, the recipe called for a 9x12 pan that had been dipped in cold water. Well, having once tried this many times before (remember the pan I had to throw away?) I decided instead to dust the pan with powdered sugar.

Then I poured the chunky-gloopy mess inside:

Can you see the chunks?

On the bright side, the bits around the chunks seem to be very candy-like. My plan: eat around the chunks. Or feed the chunks to my husband and/or dog.

The recipe calls for it to be refrigerated for 12 hours, then cut, doused in powdered sugar, and eaten. I put the pan in the fridge when it was cool enough to go, but it's not quite set yet. At least, I hope it's not quite set yet. It's still pretty gooey. It's not something I could exactly cut so much as spoon.

I'm going to hide it in the fridge for awhile longer.

Maybe the husband won't notice.

I hope I don't have to throw away the pan...

So! My advice for making Turkish Delight? Just buy it!


Anonymous said...

Oh my. It just seems like the kind of thing you should buy. I feel that way about all candy, actually. For future reference, we found Rose Water (and Orange Water) at our grocery store and we live in what my husband-the-chef calls Culinary Hell.

Good luck with the pan!

Unknown said...

You're braver than I am.

Illinoisgirl78 said...

let us know what happens...

lotusgirl said...

LOL! About the only "candy" I make is toffee or things like peppermint bark where you just melt the white chocolate and mix in crushed peppermints. If it gets too complicated, I just buy it.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

We're reading Narnia with my boys right now (halfway through THE HORSE AND HIS BOY). I have to say, Turkish Delight doesn't thrill me. It reminds me of Jello jigglers.

How cool, though, that you made some! That's devotion to a story.

Katie Anderson said...

This is absolutely the best! What fun!!! You are too cute. I can't WAIT to hear how that lumpy gelatin tastes?!!

christine M said...

I once made Turkish Delight. It didn't come out right - but I didn't have to through away the pan.
The weird thing was the recipe called for 1 cup of water. Then in one step you used 1/2 the water. Not until I was done did I realize the other half of the water was never called for. Very strange recipe.
But - I've had Turkish Delight from the middle east and it's very very good!

Anonymous said...

You could try this instead:

This recipe from Nigella Lawson is influenced by Turkish Delight. Whole Foods has rose and orange water--although you could probably just leave it out, considering all that aromatic Cointreau...

Colene Murphy said...

Wow that is some serious cooking for a sweet treat...oh who am I kidding, it is soooo worth it. YUM. BUT I'm with you, just going to stick to buying it.

Faith E. Hough said...

I have made some pretty delicious Turkish delight...but the amount of time it took didn't justify it unless you love cooking. The kind at the store is delicious. :)

Elana Johnson said...

LOL! Beth, I can't believe you actually made it! That is AWESOME. And I want to know...did you have to throw away the pan??