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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.

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.

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.

Lemon

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

Squeeze

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.

Slicing

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

Yummy!

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.

Apple Mango Muffins

3 Nov

I used to dread baking because I always made a floury mess on the kitchen counter. But I went to visit a friend once who had just baked muffins in the morning like it was an everyday affair after which her kitchen seemed so clean and I thought, why can’t I do it too? So I went and bought a box of muffin premix-just add water and bake. It was soo easy. And I found that as long as you use ONE big bowl to mix everything in, and close all your containers as you use them, it won’t seem like such a mess, and not THAT much to clean up. And then later I figured I can make better muffins for less than the bought premix-duh. And that’s how I started baking muffins. All the time. I’ve got 50 muffins sitting in the freezer.

I looked at a few muffin recipes online and found a common denominator between all of them-one cup of sugar, two cups self-raising flour,  half cup of olive oil, one cup milk, one cup any mashed fruit, and any other seasoning like cinnamon etc. So I’ve been making up muffin recipes with that as a base. By the way, I love self-raising flour. I didn’t bake much in Malaysia, and didn’t use self-raising flour, so everytime I did attempt to bake I had to sift baking soda and bicarbonate of soda through it and nothing ever came out right coz I didn’t sift it evenly. And I made a floury mess.

So you can use this recipe (I call it the Universal Muffin Recipe) to make any fruit flavored muffin. Just be creative! I’ve used leftover carrots and zuchinis and it’s tasted great.

This is what you need.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Castor sugar
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup milk (I’ve been using powdered milk-1/3 cup milk, 2/3 cups water)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 apple
  • 1 can mangos+juice (1. You can eat up to 3 pieces of mango MAX. 2. If not using juice, substitute with 1 egg or half cup water)
  • Paper muffin cups

Before you start, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Slice and dice the apples.

Apples sliced (done) and diced(not shown)

Add mangos and use a blender/food processor to puree. The canned mango juice helps with the pureeing. If using other fruits, use half cup water or an egg and blend to a pulp.

Blend/puree

Add 1 cup castor  sugar.

Pouring in the sugar

Add  2 cups flour.

Pouring in the flour

Drizzle in olive oil. I’m not exact about how much olive oil I use. About 1/3 cup sounds right.

Olive oil

Mix everything together but don’t beat the heck out of it.  10-15 strokes with a spatula should  be enough. It should still be a bit lumpy and personable.

Lumpy muffin mix

If the mix is too dry, add the half cup of water slowly and stop to mix again. The consistency is about right when you need two spoons of the batter to fill the muffin tin.

Because I’m lazy, I prefer to use muffin cups instead of greasing each hollow in the muffin tin. Fill each cup till 2/3 full.

Filling the cups with batter

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes. If not using a fan-forced oven, turn the  muffins around after 25 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick in the centre comes out clean and tops are golden.

Prefect muffins

Not really. I overfilled the cups and the muffins are joined at the top. But they tasted great nonetheless!

Muffins are great for freezing. Just Gladwrap each one individually and freeze. To defrost, microwave on high for 30 seconds. I find that muffins left to defrost on its own in Gladwrap gets a bit soggy, but a microwaved one comes out perfect like it was just baked.