Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Turkish Delight

Okay, so we're reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I hadn't read most of them til last summer, and then I found them surprisingly moving, and extremely effective at what Lewis probably intended for them to do--causing me to ponder my relationship to Christ.

The kids, once persuaded to listen (Caleb LOVES to read and taught himself how when he was 3 1/2 years old, but refuses to let me start new books in new series--Anda has to force him to let me), have decided they quite like the books, and I frequently catch them re-reading the ones I've already read to them.

Part of the condition Caleb set on us for reading the series was that we couldn't read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" first. So we read a couple of the others first (the kids have found the books so exciting that they've tried to up our limit from two to three chapters per night, so we're getting through them really fast).

Naturally, like other homeschooling families, we just had to try to make Turkish Delight as soon as we read that part. So we got a recipe here:


and found it called for rosewater, so we got that recipe here:


First, we collected three roses from the front yard--two yellow and one red, since that was what was in bloom at the time. We cleaned them (the yellows had aphids), and the kids took pictures of the petals they liked ("This one is a heart!" "Oh, one perfect rose petal! Oh, look! Here's another perfect one!") (taking pictures of things we like was our solution to the "You can't eat that taco. I want to save it forever" phenomenon in our house that happened whenever someone noticed something out of the ordinary. Now we allow packratism, but only if most of your stash is saved on picasa).

Anyway, we followed the recipe and made the rosewater. It came out a deep red color.

Then we followed the recipe to make Turkish Delight. The first thing we noticed was that the red rosewater, added to the cold sugar water, turned everything a lovely pale yellow. Then, as we started cooking it, the pale yellow grew more intense. And then it turned a lovely pale green. To our utter surprise, the green became more and more intense as the sugar cooked, until it was almost neon. (Perhaps this is why rosewater is often made in enameled cookware?). Anyway, that was a shocker.

Unfortunately, I wasn't terribly careful about following the instructions carefully, and the stuff came out all wrong, with lumps and chunks and hardened cornstarch bits in it. Plus it tasted just awful, like weedy cornstarch. So we weren't inclined to eat it OR to try again, despite the beautiful frosty green color it ended up being.

I do have a recipe from one of my 1950s cookbooks that uses gelatin, so isn't 'real' Turkish Delight but promises to work out better. And word on the street is that the old candies called Aplets and Cotlets were actually Turkish Delight.

I just hate failing at a recipe when I know I didn't follow it exactly, so I might try it again when the kids aren't helping and see if I can make it go, being more careful about the 'cook to hard ball stage' and less about the "that's 250 degrees" (It isn't at this elevation. I knew that, but I forgot when I was looking at the recipe. 250 degrees is hard crack stage; 235-240 is hard ball stage at this elevation), and stirring in the cornstarch mixture instead of holding the kids back with one hand (adding water to boiling sugar can be a recipe for an explosive disaster) and dumping it in with the other.

I think I'll opt for vanilla or fruit juice flavoring this time. But if you want some rosewater for something, I have 3/4 c sitting in the fridge that you're welcome to!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I've always wondered what a Turkish Delight tastes like... You'll have to let us know when it works out. I'm not super interested in eating seaweed tasting treats.