Turkish delight was never something I really enjoyed as a child. There was something about the texture and the perfumey rosewater flavour that just didn’t appeal. But over the years I have acquired a taste for it, if it’s done right. I’ve had some that are more like ju-jubes, but if it has delicately firm texture, and a slightly less perfumey taste, it can become a bit addictive.
A few weeks ago I was looking through our Joy of Cooking cookbook and found two recipes for turkish delight. One suggested using jelly, such as quince, for flavouring, and given my recent quince jelly endeavour, I thought it might be fun to give it a try.
The first recipe used pectin and corn syrup as the gelling agents, and the second used gelatin. I made the pectin one first, which requires you to boil and stir two pots simultaneously before mixing them together and pouring into a pan to cool. I followed the directions very carefully, timing everything as it said. It only took a couple hours to gel at room temperature. Then I cut them into pieces, tossed them in icing sugar and set them out to dry overnight. In the morning I discovered that all the candies had absorbed the icing sugar, and started dripping syrup all over the counter below. I tried to re-coat them several times, but they just kept dissolving and dripping. The taste was good, and the texture was okay; not like the best turkish delight I’ve ever had, but still a nice sweet treat, despite the syrup goo.
I decided to also try the second gelatin based recipe to see if it would be any different. Unlike the first recipe, there was only one pot to boil, and I needed to use a thermometer to measure the temperature. It took a lot longer to gel in the pan, but was definitely less moist; one coating of icing sugar did the trick. Unfortunately the texture was disappointing; more like a ju-jube, or very firm jello. And with the gelatin they’re not vegetarian friendly.
Some recipes that I found online don’t use pectin or gelatin, they use corn starch. I liked the pectin recipe for the most part, but wonder if it would have been better to boil the pots a bit longer, or actually measure the temperature, even though that’s not what the recipe called for. If anyone has a good recipe for turkish delight they can recommend, I’d love to try it. Until then, we’ll make the best of our little jelly chews.