A certain ennui is settling over my kitchen. It could be that I’m just plain exhausted with new part time hours working as a line cook for a well known caterer in addition to my day job.The hours there can be feast or famine, and lately its a feast, which leaves me exhausted.Imagine 16 hour days with your day job and then working the kitchen for the love of it and to gain practical experience. I confess I’m learning and hedging my bets at the same time. In these financial times, with job uncertainty, it’s good to get any experience you can, as the more traditional jobs are scarce.Lately I have all these cooking plans for fun and by the time a quick dinner is made and Certain Someone and I are settled, I just drift away. Maybe it’s the heat too. Who knows, but I need my drive and inspiration back,soon.It happens to all of us from time to time.
Turkish Delight or Lokum was created in response by a crafty confectioner,Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, for a sultan in the Ottoman Empire who tired of hard candy.Ali Muhiddins descendants still sell Rahat Lokums ( comfortable morsels) to this day in many variations . Turkish Delight become popular with the west through CS Lewis’ The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.For those that are looking for a gummy type of confection , without the use of gelatin or animal products, this is the recipe for you. Turkish Delight gets its consistency from a mixture of cream of Tartar, corn starch,and sugar, The variations come with additions of nuts and flavors. Rose water is one of the most popular flavorings.For this recipe , which I adapted, I ramped up the almond and rose flavors.
Almond Rose Turkish Delight
adapted from the Turkish Delight Recipe in Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling .*
Changes made where * appear.
Makes 9×13 inch slab
- (2lb)4 cups granulated sugar
- (8oz)1 cup water
- 1tsp cream of tarter
- Starch Paste
- (4oz)1 cup Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Cream of Tarter
- (24 oz)3 cups water
- 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp almond extract
- a few drops of rose colored food coloring
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- (2oz)1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
- (1oz)1/4 cup Cornstarch
Oil and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with plastic wrap.Use a neutral non flavored vegetable oil.Lightly oil the top of the wrap as well.
In a 2 qt saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cream of tarter. Bring to a boil , cover and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.After 4 minutes, remove lid, and place a candy thermometer in. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 260F.Remove from heat and set aside.
In a 4 qt saucepan mix the ingredients for the starch paste (Cornstarch,Cream of tarter,and water).
Stir with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and boil.The mixture will be thick and pasty,but continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
Taking the sugar syrup from before, add it gradually in a stream to the starch paste while whisking on the heat.Bring the combined mixtures to a soft boil and continue to whisk on a lowered heat until the mixture is smooth and clear.Cook for 20-25 minutes.
Remove pot from the heat and stir in rose and almond flavors, coloring , and nuts.
Pour into the prepared pan and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Leave to cool overnight.
In a large bowl sift together the confectioners sugar and cornstarch to dust the candy pieces in in, Cut the candy and roll in mixture.
Store in airtight , dry temperature.