Homemade Turkish Delight

23 Nov

I went to a middle-eastern store the other day and bought some handmade Turkish Delight. I’ve never come across it in Malaysia, and wondered what all the fuss was about in the Narnia film when Edmund betrays his siblings for some Turkish Delight. I tried some that day and understood. The Turkish Delight was soft but chewy and so  deliciously perfumed. Wyld Man enjoyed them so much that I decided to learn how to make them from scratch.

Making Turkish Delight isn’t that hard, as long as you follow the instructions to the letter, and have the correct tools on hand.

I got the recipe online here, but decided to make it red-food-colouring-free.

First, the lineup of ingredients.


  • Neutral tasting oil/butter (not shown)
  • 4 cups castor sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup juice (I used undiluted apple mango juice) (or omit this and just use 4 cups water)
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbs gelatine powder
  • 1 cup cornflour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp rosewater essence
  • 4 tbs beetroot juice
  • 2 cups icing sugar

You’ll also need to set out your tools.


You’ll need :

  • baking paper (not shown)
  • whisk
  • spatula
  • sugar thermometer
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • 2 large saucepans
  • 1  28cm x 17cm slice pan

One essential tool is a sugar thermometer, which is a thermometer that clips onto your pot, with a scale showing the correct temperature to produce soft and hard forms of sugar/candy. I went and got mine specially for making Turkish Delight.

Sugar Thermometer

First off, slice the lemon in half.


Then get your macho, handsome husband to squeeze it for you with his strong hands.


Line the slice pan with baking paper with sides overhanging. To make the baking paper stick, oil the pan completely  first.

Like this

Set one saucepan on the stove, and fill with 1 cup water, 1 cup juice and 4 cups sugar and stir over low heat.

Adding sugar to juice and water

Clip on the sugar thermometer and heat till completely dissolved. Increase heat to medium and keep watch till sugar reaches 125 degrees Celsius (firmball stage) which should take about 25 minutes. Some sources say 115 degrees Celsius is enough (softball stage). At this point, I’ve got a confession to make. I copied the recipe by hand, and instead of writing 125, I wrote 25. I was 100 degrees off the mark! But mine turned out ok in the end. Phew! So do what I say, not what I do.

Stir in the 2 tbs of lemon juice and remove from heat.

Lemon Juice

Take the other saucepan and fill with the the remaining 2 cups of water, cornflour (1cup), gelatine powder (3 tbs)  and cream of tartar (1tsp).  Turn heat to low and whisk briskly to remove any lumps. Gradually increase heat to medium and keep stirring till mixture boils and thickens as per below. Do not burn. This should take about 3-5 minutes.

Miracle mix

Don’t you just love cornflour? I use it for thickening soups, tenderising meat, coating meat for frying, vanilla slice and now turkish delight. It’s a miracle powder. You can also use it under your arm as a substitute for deodorant as well as use it as baby powder. Aside from that, you can starch your white shirts with a mixture of cornflour and water instead of using commercial aerosol spray starch.

Now pour the contents of the first saucepan into the cornflour mixture.

Pour 1 into 2.

Stir to incorporate everything evenly. Whisk constantly to remove any lumps. My source said to pour through a sieve into another saucepan but I didn’t find that necessary. Over low heat, simmer for an hour or till temperature reaches 110 degrees Celsius. The mixture should look very golden-like this.

Almost ready

Add the rosewater essence (2 tbs) and beetroot juice (4 tbs), and stir thoroughly. Pour into the lined slice pan. It should look like this.

Isn’t using beetroot juice just brilliant? My mother-in-law uses it instead of red-food-colouring and told me about it.

Cool to room temp and then put in fridge to set overnight. The next morning, dust your chopping board liberally with icing sugar and cornflour and turn the Turkish Delight onto it. It should be pretty firm.

Peel off the baking paper

To cut, put a sharp knife under hot running water and butter the end. Then run it through the jelly. Like this.


Slice it through lengthwise, into strips and separate. Dust with more icing sugar and cornflour. Cut into cubes and dust the ends as well.

Homemade Turkish Delight


It turned out amazingly well for a first effort, and despite the temperature blunder. Compared to the ones I bought, the texture wasn’t as chewy because I didn’t let the sugar form to the hardball stage before I added the cornflour. But it still is softly chewy.

To store, keep refrigerated in single layers. I found that mine did not like being kept outside the fridge.

One Response to “Homemade Turkish Delight”

  1. Hatty November 24, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    OK, that’s lovely and I am sure it is delicious, but having lived in Turkey for ten years I feel I have to tell you that there is never any gelatine in real Turkish delight. It is and always has been a completely vegetarian product. Perhaps you only had to add it because of the temperature mistake? (The recipe you linked to does not have gelatine in it.)

    Anyway, glad you and your hisband like it. (You can also put nuts in it.) Afiyet olsun, as they say in Turkey. (May it be good for you/your well-being!)

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