Monday, May 16, 2011

Turkish Delight, revisited

So, we're reading Narnia again.

And, naturally, the kids wanted to try Turkish Delight again.

Last time was an unmitigated disaster.

But I learned a few things last time. The most important was that Turkish Delight is just another name for one of my mom's old favorite treats: Aplets and Cotlets. (Look up the history of the candy and you'll see I pegged it right on the money: is the original name of Turkish Delight; or see it here:

So I looked up "Turkish Delight" recipes again. More of the same that was so absolutely disgusting last time. Recipes that involve three things I didn't want to deal with: a cup of cornstarch in one 9x9 pan of candy (yuck!), delicate rosewater trying to mask the starchy taste (not a chance, plus I don't have any), and an hour of stirring involved in the process.

So I got smart: I looked up recipes for Aplets and Cotlets instead.

Bingo! Easy, fast recipe that ended up tasting great:

A few notes: We used blueberry pomegranate juice (find it in the freezer section at the grocery in concentrated form in plastic cans). I think you could use any flavor of juice you wanted. Cherry would be superb. I boiled it with the sugar as instructed. But then when we added the cornstarch/lemon juice mixture (I had no lime juice, so I used lemon juice for that amount, too), it immediately gelled when it hit the hot juice. I've never seen cornstarch do that before, so I fished it all out and made a new batch with a significantly larger amount of lemon juice. You could use water. Make it thinnish and pourable. I used 3 packets of unflavored gelatin, and this worked marvelously. You do have to stir it constantly for the 10 minutes mentioned because it thickens faster on the bottom of the pot (into an honest-to-goodness fruit snack, like you find at the store, which will stick to your spoon). Use a long-handled spoon and a great deal of caution (chemistry safety goggles would be a good idea....) because when this boils, it spits hot gelatinous gunk at you. Scary! Once it starts boiling, turn the temperature down to low to save your arms and face from burns, and don't let the kids help with that part. It really does have to sit 12 hours or overnight (bummer!) but it came out soft and sticky and tasting great.

Really, though, if you want to give the kids a Turkish Delight experience without the mess, you could just order some Aplets and Cotlets ( have irregularly shaped ones for pretty cheap), or feed them jelly beans--the gooey inside stuff is Turkish Delight. Or, easier yet, give them fruit snacks. They aren't exactly the same, but it's a very clear descendant of the Victorian candy delight.

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