Sunday, October 16, 2011
Turkish Delights - Lokum
Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia just after sunrise in Turkey.
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We are home and ever so slowly coming down to earth. It's been a wonderful holiday and I'll be sharing some of our adventures and food discoveries with you over the next few weeks. I thought I'd start with two of the Turkish delights we encountered while we were traveling. One, of course, is the confection immortalized by C.S. Lewis and used to tempt Edmund in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." The other addresses an adventure that's been on my bucket list for years now. Time and place finally coincided, and I was able to join a sunrise balloon squadron that soared over the near mystical topography and rock formations of the Rose and Pigeon valleys in Cappadocia. This part of the country is riddled with underground cities and outcropping that have been hollowed out to form churches and homes originally built to protect inhabitants from marauding invaders. It is also home to thousand of pigeon houses and roosts. If you look closely at the bottom of the second photo, you can see an example of this. At one time, pigeon droppings were used as fertilizer and area farmers made life as pleasant as they could for the birds whose waste was used locally for crops or sold and transported elsewhere. Most of the pigeons are gone now, but enough remain to provide some local color and allow the imaginative to journey back in time. As it happens, Turkish Delight, the confection, was served with champagne at the end of our flight. It was a very civilized way to begin the day and a great way to introduce today's recipe.
This candy has the consistency of Gummy Bears or Chuckles and it will not be to every one's liking. It is made from sugar and cornstarch and is chewy, even when fresh. I've chosen the most basic of recipes for today's post and used rosewater and creme de menthe to flavor my candy. The addition of fruit and nuts would produce a more sophisticated confection that is more like a nougat than a jelly. It would also make the candy more difficult to prepare. I'm going to follow the line of least resistance and stick with the more simple application. You will need a candy thermometer to make this and it is important to follow instructions exactly. The finished candy has a tendency to weep, so it is important to make sure it is dry before you coat it with confectioners' sugar. I let mine sit for two days before I coated it. While this will be nothing more than a curiosity for some, those of you who like to make candy for the holidays might like to give this recipe a try. Here's how it is made.
Turkish Delight...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
4 cups granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4-1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons rosewater or creme de menthe
Optional: 2 to 3 drops red or green food coloring
1 cup confectioners sugar
Vegetable oil or shortening
1) Grease sides and bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with vegetable oil or shortening. Line with wax paper or foil and grease pan again.
2) Combine lemon juice, sugar and 1-1/2 cups water in a saucepan set over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) Combine cream of tartar, 1 cup corn starch and remaining water in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all lumps are gone and mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring when the mixture has a glue like consistency.
4) Stir in lemon juice, water and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.
5) Once mixture has become a golden color, stir in rosewater or creme de menthe and food coloring if using. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread evenly and allow to cool overnight.
6) Once it has cooled overnight, sift together confectioners sugar and remaining cornstarch.
7) Turn over baking pan containing Turkish delight onto clean counter or table and cut with oiled knife into one inch pieces.
8) Coat with confectioners sugar mixture. Serve or store in airtight container in layers separated with wax or parchment paper.
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You might also enjoy these recipes:
White Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge - Flour on My Face
Pumpkin Macadamia Fudge - The Domestic Mama and Village Cook
Candy Corn Snack Mix - Jane Deere
Pumpkin Fudge - Brown Eyed Baker
Turkish Delights - The Royal Cook