Before I start I would like to say that I don't have a sugar thermometer, essential if you are really into confectionery, and that I didn't use much sugar for these Turkish delights. Many recipes use much more sugar, and it is not that I wanted to make a low sugar treat here (it is still pretty sweet), it is just that making it at home really makes me realize how much sugar there is already in my diet, and if I can have something with a little less... well, why not!
This method is 'home friendly' i.e. these can be made at home with very little effort and equipment, and the recipe comes from my book Sweet As... where I also have the recipe for lavender and orange blossom Turkish Delights.
1 l water
300 g sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
100 g cornflour (corn starch)
1 tbsp frozen raspberries
1 tbsp rose water
icing sugar (very little) and cornflour (lots) to dust.
In a pot put half of the water (500 ml) with the sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Boil it down until you get a light syrup (here those with the sugar thermometer will go to about 240 degrees, I just waited for the mixture to thicken a little). In another pot mix the remaining water with the cornflour, then bring to the boil and simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the hot sugar syrup and stir well.
Now let the pot simmer, without stirring, for at least 30 minutes. More would be good, if you are patient, 45 minutes to one hour is more like the shops do it, but in a home kitchen looking at a bubbling mixture is a little worrying. Still, the more you cook it the harder your Turkish Delights. At the end add a tbsp of rose water, and to colour it, since I try not to use artificial colouring, a few raspberries. The berries will 'melt' in the hot mixture and the little seeds are quite pretty, I think. If you don't like the seeds, just pass the berries through a sieve, and adde the juice only. Pour the hot mixture into a square or rectangular tupperware or similar plastic container (easy to detach the solid block after it sets) and let it cool down and set overnight.
The day after tip out your 'candy' block and cut into pieces. I now understand why when you buy lokum it is full of white powder: it takes lots of cornflour to keep it! To dust it I use a mixture of cornflour and very little icing sugar: if you use too much icing sugar the sweet may 'sweat' and become all sticky! Another problem is humidity: it is very humid here in the Auckland bush, if your sweets seems too 'wet' after cutting them, place them on a oven tray and bake them at 50 on fan for a little to dry. Store them in layers divided with paper, and dust regularly with a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar to keep them dry. Eat within a few days. Turkish Delights are Vegan and Gluten Free. Next post will be about hazelnut Turkish delights :-).