Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Oh the horror... Turkish Delight you haunt me still!

WOWZER – last night I really upped my game on decimating our kitchen.  I made a batch of Turkish Delight as part of a Christmas present and I’m going to try my very best not to eat my way through them until they’re safely gifted because I can’t quite face making another batch yet! 

This recipe is messy... and when I say messy I mean the entire kitchen looks like it was involved in a Turkish Delight massacre!  

I can only assume when Rachel Allen came up with this recipe she was using a test kitchen with someone else on their hands and knees scraping the dollops of pink gloop out from between the floorboards! 

It uses everything but the kitchen sink in terms of equipment (and this is only because the kitchen sink’s already full of pans soaking previous abortive attempts of Turkish Delight gone bad).  But somehow amidst the swearing and scrubbing, it’s converted me to liking Turkish Delight?!  Who knew?  Apparently it doesn’t always have to taste like cheap soap?
Here are some things I’ve learnt about making Turkish Delight... Aren’t I good to you?  I fell in every one of these pitfalls so you don’t have to!

1.       Line the bottom of the tin with paper as well as greasing it.  Otherwise it won’t budge, not even a bit, let alone come out of the tin in one peice.  No matter how much I begged/bribed/threatened, it was perfectly happy remaining where it was and nothing I was going to do or say was going to change it’s mind!
2.       Don’t use a spring form cake tin.  This results in aforementioned lava hot pink gloop dripping out of the bottom, and between the floorboards... down your leg... all over the kitchen surfaces... etc etc you get the picture!
3.       Try not to pour half a bottle of food colouring into the mixture by mistake – this will overshoot “delicate rose pink” by miles, dumping you firmly into day-glo red.
4.       Remember not to get overly engrossed watching an episode of CSI while simmering sugar syrup for 25 minutes.  An episode of CSI is 1hr long – in hindsight I can see now that this isn’t good maths. 
5.       The same applies to watching your new lovefilm DVD while trying to get a sugar syrup to an exact temperature... it doesn’t work – trust me, watching a sugar thermometer creep up is terminally boring – but take your eye off it for a second and it automatically springs up by at least 20˚C!
6.       Use a heavy based saucepan to reduce hot spots to make burning less likely (see you later attempts 1 and 2)! 
7.       Try not to start eating these until you mean to finish eating them... THEY ARE (suprisingly) VERY MOREISH!!

Grease the cake tin with sunflower oil.  Line the bottom with greaseproof paper and grease the paper.

In a heavy duty pan, bring the sugar and 500ml of water to a rolling boil over a medium heat.  Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.

Reduce the heat and keep the sugar syrup at a low simmer without stirring until it reaches hard-ball stage (125˚C).  This should take about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the gelatine with the cornflour and cream of tartar in another heavy duty pan.  Gradually whisk in another 500ml water until it’s smooth.  Simmer over a medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes whisking CONSTANTLY to prevent lumps.  It is ready once it starts to look suspiciously like wallpaper paste.  Remove it from the heat.

Once the sugar syrup reaches the hard-ball stage, immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.  Next whisk the sugar syrup into the cornflour mixture.

Place the combined mixture over a low heat and simmer gently until it reaches the thread stage (110˚C).  Stir frequently to prevent sticking or burning.  It should take approximately 1hr.

As soon as the mixture reaches 110˚C (and has turned a deep golden colour), add the rosewater and food colouring and stir until fully incorporated.

Pour into the prepared tin and leave overnight in the fridge to firm up.

Dust a work surface with copious amounts of icing sugar.  Turn the Turkish Delight out onto the icing sugar and chop it into squares with an oiled knife.  Dust more icing sugar over the top and then roll each square to ensure it has a hefty coating.  This will ensure it stores for longer without sticking together and will dust off so there's no such thing as too much!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month (apparently)

Turkish Delight (makes approximately 48 pieces):
850g caster sugar
21g gelatine powder
125g cornflour
1tsp cream of tartar
2tbsp lemon juice
2tsp rosewater
A few drops of red food colouring
Icing sugar, to dust
Sunflower oil, for greasing the tin
8” square non-stick cake tin

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