This traditional Orange Blossom Turkish Delight (Lokoum) recipe makes a soft, fragrant, melt in your mouth confection. One bite and you will understand why Edmund betrayed his Family for these magical treats. “and (he) thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat” –C.S. Lewis
Flavored with Orange Blossom water and orange zest it is a unique and delicious, naturally vegan and gluten free sweet that makes a perfect gift for a Narnia loving friend.
On our flight to Istanbul 5 years ago our movie-star glamorous airline stewardess passed a silver tray piled high with cubes of Orange Blossom Turkish Delight about the cabin. On the other side of the plane an equally handsome young Omar Sharif in his neatly pressed uniform passed another tray. They stole glances at each other across the aisle. She giggled here and there, and brushed her thick hair behind her seashell ears exposing sparking earrings.
Hearing the glint of her laughter, he glanced her way and spilled the last of the Turkish delight onto the lap of a passenger. We all blushed for him.
Hand Curled around a cup of hot coffee, hunched over a cheap paperback thriller, feet resting on my dusty backpack under the seat: the romantic dance teased my attention from the gruesome plot of my novel. My puffy jet lagged eyes were drawn to the modern Topkpapi tapestry come to life. Pilgrims, on their way to Mecca, dressed in their white ihram robes knelt in prayer in the narrow aisles. Straight backed women, dark as night, clothed in peacock colors cuddled and nursed round, slurping babies.
Forlorn wailing music poured from the iPhone of the young almond eyed Turkish man sitting in a seat across from me. I gestured to the iPhone and asked with a shrug of my shoulders and a lift of the eyebrows about the ululating moan. He smiled sheepishly “love song” he says with a shrug,
“I am in love,” he smiled shyly, and gestured to the flirting cabin staff. “too” he added.
Then he turned the music up for all our benefit.
Traditional Rose Turkish Delight
Although this recipe may seem complicated at first, once you read through it a couple of times and organize your ingredients and supplies, it simple enough. You will be rewarded with sugared pillows of orange blossom confection. Placed in a small tin and tied with a satin bow it is an un-forgettable gift.
First off guys, this is candy. Candy is a petulant creature, humidity and altitude can significantly affect the texture of any candy. Try making meringues on a rainy day and you’ll understand what I mean. So understand that once in a while a tried and true candy recipe fails for no discernible reason. Them’s the risks Kid.
Secondly you will be working with hot syrup. A burn from hot sugar syrup is serious, pay attention and save that glass of wine to drink while the candy is setting. Thank you for listening.
Line your tin or mold with oiled plastic wrap allowing, the extra to hang over the sides. I used a square 8X8″ cookie tin.
In a medium sized sauce pan, over medium heat, bring your sugar, lemon juice, zest and 2 cups of the listed water to a boil. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Reduce your heat to medium low and keep the mixture at a simmer. Stir every few minutes with a wooden or silicone spoon. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and check until your syrup reaches 240 F (115 C).
Meanwhile while your sugar syrup is cooking.
In another saucepan whisk together remaining water, cornstarch and cream of tarter over medium heat. Whisk your corn starch mixture until it comes to boil. Really put your back into the whisking because there should be no lumps.
If you look into the pot and think “Oh crap, a giant blew his nose right into the pot while my back was turned” then you have the correct consistency.
When your sugar syrup just reaches 240°F(115°C) pour your syrup into the cornstarch mixture bit by bit. Stir well after each addition until all the syrup is incorporated into the cornstarch. Whisk like the devil until the two mixtures are fully incorporated.
Turn on a good podcast or invite a friend over for coffee. You are now a servant to the Turkish delight recipe. For one hour you will need to thoroughly stir the pot every 2-3 minutes. Keep the mixture on super low heat the whole time.
After an hour passes remove from the heat. Stir in the orange blossom water and the orange zest with the correct food coloring if needed to heighten the color. This would be the time to add the nuts.
Pour the viscous mixture into your mold. Leave out on counter until firm. 10-12 hours.
Do Not Place In Fridge! Do Not Place In Fridge! Do Not Place In Fridge!
Once firm, remove from the mold and cut into squares. Toss your squares in confectioners sugar.
Your turkish delight will last a week or maybe two. I have had success with placing those desiccant packets you receive in new shoe boxes in my closed tin. It keeps my candy from weeping.
Awww weeping candy, I just got a little sad, not joking.