The tempting delight featured in the movie, Chronicles of Narnia is a candy that is regularly relished mainly in Turkish homes. However, it’s gaining popularity across the globe today and is known to compliment coffee and also for sweetening the breath after a meal. Its primary constituents are sugar and starch and can be prepared at home easily…
Turkish Delight, also popularly referred to as lokum, is a soft, jelly-like sticky confectionery prepared from starch and sugar. Lokum is known to be prepared in Turkey since the 15th century, wherein, flour and water were the binding agents, and honey and molasses were used as the sweeteners. However, the Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir Confectioners company of Istanbul are credited for introducing (during the 19th century) the sugar and starch recipe that we use today. In the 19th century, an unknown Britisher relished on this confectionery during his many visits to Istanbul. He grew fond of it and shipped cases of this candy to Britain under the name Turkish Delight.
Turkish Delight Recipe
This recipe makes about 1 lb Turkish Delight, serves 24 and involves 30 min of preparation time with 45 min of cooking time. Shelf life is 2 weeks in an airtight container.
½ cup cornstarch
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup (toasted) slivered almonds
1+2/3 cups water
½ tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2¼ cups confectioner’s sugar
Additional confectioner’s sugar for coating
Vegetable oil for greasing the pan
9 x 5-inch loaf pan
One heavy small and one heavy medium saucepan
- Take the 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and line it with wax paper in such a manner that it overhangs the edges of the loaf tin by at least 2 inches. Now, drizzle the vegetable oil onto the wax paper and brush it across the paper and set the pan aside.
- Next, take the heavy small saucepan and put the ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1/8 tsp cream of tartar, 2/3 cup water into it.
- Place the pan over medium heat and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
- To the inside of the saucepan, clip the candy thermometer and allow the mixture to cook (without stirring) until the mixture reaches a temperature of 260° F (hard ball).
- When the desired temperature is attained, turn off the heat and cover it with a lid to keep it warm. A wonder thick syrup will be formed.
- Next, take the heavy medium saucepan and put into it 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup water and ½ cup cornstarch.
- Set this saucepan on medium heat and stir until the cornstarch and sugar dissolve and the mixture comes to a boil.
- The mixture will immediately turn into a thick paste, so keep your earlier prepared syrup (heavy small saucepan one) in the vicinity. You will need to add it as soon as the mixture in the heavy medium saucepan thickens.
- Once the mixture thickens, add the previously prepared warm syrup into it, all the while stirring constantly until the combined mixture turns smooth and creamy white.
- Stir continuously and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.
- Quickly add the almond extract and the almonds into the above mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Spread this mixture evenly into the greased loaf pan that was earlier prepared and set aside.
- The candy will require at least 6-8 hours to set, so you could leave it to set overnight at room temperature.
- Once it’s set, gently lift the wax paper from the loaf pan and remove the candy. Sprinkle the rest of the ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar onto the candy.
- You will need to place additional confectioner’s sugar in a tray so as to roll the candy pieces as soon as they are cut. This prevents them from sticking together.
- Cut the candy slab into bite-sized pieces and roll each of them in the tray with confectioner’s sugar.
- Store the candy pieces in an airtight container by placing them in layers and separating each layer with wax paper. Your delicious Turkish Delights are ready!
The above-mentioned preparation method is a standard one and can be used as a basic method to prepare any variation of Turkish delight. For preparing the variations, you will need to substitute just two or three minor ingredients with no alteration in the preparation procedure. Here are a few variations:
Rose Turkish Delight: Instead of using almonds and almond extract in the above recipe, add ½ tsp rose flavoring and few drops of red food coloring to prepare Rose Turkish Delight. You could even use 2 tsp of rosewater instead of rose flavoring and red food coloring.
Pistachio Orange Turkish Delight: Substitute the almonds and almond extract in the above recipe with ½ cup whole-shelled pistachio nuts and 2 tsp orange-flower water and you will have your Pistachio Orange Turkish Delight ready to relish on.
Apricot Turkish Delight: Substitute the almonds and almond extract in the above recipe with ½ cup finely-chopped apricots and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract to prepare this yummy delight.
Banana Almond Turkish Delight: Add 1 tsp natural or artificial banana flavoring as a substitute for almond and almond extract.
Mint Turkish Delight: Add 1 tsp mint extract or ¼ tsp peppermint oil as a substitute for almond and almond extract.
Lemon Turkish Delight: Add ½ tsp lemon extract as a substitute for almond and almond extract.
Red Hot Turkish Delight: Substitute the almonds and almond extract in the above recipe with ½ cup pecan pieces and 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes and your delight is ready.
This confectionery has gained popularity in Britain, as well as throughout Continental Europe. Turkish Delight is quite popular among children as a candy, not only because of its yummy flavor but also because of its appearance in the movie: The Chronicles of Narnia. Since children love them so much you can prepare this treat for them yourself. As seen above, it does not require many ingredients and the procedure is also simple. Try it out!