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:: Turkish Delights ::

Who doesn't love Turkish Delight? Who? I ask you. Nobody. Everybody loves it. Simply everybody.
Have you ever tried to make the stuff? It seems like it would be really difficult to do doesn't it? Well, allow me to start by saying there are a good many recipes for it, but I have chosen just two for you. Why? I've tried both of them. One is simple and quick and good, the other, though more time consuming is nothing short of deliciousness at it's yummy best. Seriously, both are good. You have to start somewhere right?

The easy recipe:

2 cups plain sugar
3 Tb edible gelatin (powdered)
pinch salt
1 cup water
4 tsps pure rosewater or 1 lemon 
tiny drop of red or yellow food coloring
cornflour and icing sugar
Stir together the sugar, gelatin and salt in a heavy-based pot. Add water and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Continue to slowly boil mixture for 10-15 minutes, without stirring. Then remove from heat and add either the rosewater or the zest and juice of one lemon. Next add a very small drop of food coloring. Choose a small dish (I used a ceramic baking dish) and rinse it with some water, but don't dry it. Tip in your sugar mixture, let it cool and then leave in the fridge for a few hours to set. When it's firm, you can get it out of the dish but it can be a bit tricky. Find a clean work surface and tip some icing sugar and cornflour onto it, mix it together with your fingers. Using a thin fish slice or similar, you'll need peel it away from the dish (hopefully in one piece) then place it onto the powered surface. Cut the delight into pieces with a hot knife (dipping it in boiling water helps). Roll each piece in more powder to stop it from sticking then arrange in a box.

The harder recipe:
yield : Makes about 100 one-inch candies
Worth It: A delightfully soft and chewy sweet that's better than any store-bought version you've encountered. Rosewater is the traditional flavoring, and is available at many specialty and gourmet stores, but feel free to replace it with the same amount of whatever pure extract you like, such as orange or vanilla. 

Do note that this recipe requires expert timing {don't worry: that doesn't mean you have to be fast} just read it through a couple of times before you start! It's not a difficult recipe, but if you don't have a good idea of how everything gets put together before you begin, it's easy to get confused. So, just get prepared.
Special Equipment:
Small (9" x 13") rimmed baking sheet
Heatproof spatula or wooden spoon
Candy thermometer
Large cutting board
Cooking spray or vegetable oil
For the sugar syrup
3 cups (575 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (175 g) honey
1/2 cup (120 g) water
Pinch of cream of tartar
For the cornstarch mixture
1 cup (150 g) cornstarch
1 cup (130 g) confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 cups (600 g) water
1 teaspoon (3 g) cream of tartar
For the flavoring
2 1/2 teaspoons (12 g) rosewater
2 cups (300 g) shelled roasted unsalted pistachios (if you can only find them raw, check out how to toast them yourself on page 284)
2 or 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
For cutting and dredging
About 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting the cutting board
1/2 cup cornstarch sifted together with 1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Generously coat the baking sheet with cooking spray, and set it aside.

2. Make the sugar syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, water, and cream of tartar in a medium-size (4-quart) saucepan, and mix with the heatproof spatula to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and insert the candy thermometer. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260°F/127°C (hard ball stage), about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile (keeping an eye on the sugar syrup), make the cornstarch mixture: In a large (6-quart) saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, confectioners' sugar, water, and cream of tartar to combine. Once the sugar syrup reaches 250°F/121°C (firm ball stage), place the cornstarch mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk; it will thicken and boil quickly, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the mixture on the hot burner; stir well a few times with a whisk, and set aside.

4. At this point, the sugar syrup should be close to 260°F/127°C (hard ball stage); when it reaches that temperature, remove it from the heat and carefully pour it into the cornstarch mixture. Stir well with the whisk to combine. Bring everything to a low boil over medium heat. Then reduce the heat to low and cook at a low simmer, stirring frequently with the spatula, until the mixture is thick and gluey and a light golden color, 30 to 45 minutes. Don't turn your back on it! You need to make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula every few minutes to prevent scorching and lumps.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flavorings: stir in the rosewater, pistachios, and food coloring (if using).

6. Wearing oven mitts, immediately pour the candy into the prepared baking sheet. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the candy to prevent it from forming a skin as it cools. Allow it to cool until it has set and is firm and cool to the touch, 6 to 8 hours.

7. Gently peel off the plastic wrap. Dust the cutting board with the confectioners' sugar. Run the tip of a paring knife between the candy and the sheet, and gently turn the candy out onto the prepared board.

8. Place the cornstarch mixture in a medium-size bowl. Generously coat a sharp chef's knife with cooking spray, and use a gentle slicing motion to cut the candy into 1-inch squares. Dredge the pieces in the cornstarch mixture until well coated.

Store the Turkish delights, layered with wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 month. That's it! You've done it! And now, you'll do it again and again! Your so good.

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