Every now and then I will get an email from a young aspiring baker who gets a real kick-start from this blog. Shealey is one such person. She’s a dessert enthusiast who loves photography, puppy dogs and painting pictures – sound familiar? She’s definitely a kindred spirit. Last Christmas she emailed me to share how much she enjoys reading Sprinkle Bakes, and I thought that was so very nice of her.
I recently received another email from Shealey saying that she is turning 13 years old this month, and asked if I would consider featuring Turkish Delight on my blog. She and her friends plan to watch the Narnia movie trilogy on her birthday, and instead of popcorn they’ll be having Turkish Delight. I love the Chronicles of Narnia and was more than happy to oblige. In fact, I’ve wanted to make a White Witch cake ever since I saw the Snow Queen cake in the book Enchanted Cakes by Debbie Brown. This was a perfect opportunity! Although the cake structure is much the same as the one in Debbie’s book, my White Witch cake was scaled down to one 9″ layer and the rest of the decorating was very much improvised.
“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and
instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon,
which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best
Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and
Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious.
–excerpt, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I was intrigued (and skeptical) when I heard that Turkish Delight can be made in the microwave. I’ve only sampled the treat one other time from the shelves of Williams-Sonoma, so my comparison is limited. This version has a less sticky texture than the store-bought stuff, and it is delicately soft – a bit like a fruit jelly crossed with a soft gummy snack. I adapted a recipe- almost beyond recognition- from this New York Times article and was pleased when everything went according plan.
Microwave Turkish Delight [ printable version ]
Yield: 40-60 pieces of candy
Note: Make candy the day before serving so it will have time to set.
4 qt. microwave safe glass bowl – such as Pyrex
8×8 pan or standard loaf pan
Two pot holders
Knife or scissors
Make the candy:
2 1/2 cups of cold water
3/4 cup cornstarch, plus 1/2 cup for dusting candy squares
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp. pure lemon extract
2 drops red or pink liquid food coloring
Cooking spray, or cooking oil (light taste, like canola) for greasing pan
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Ground pistachios *optional
Pour the water into a 4-quart glass bowl. Whisk in the 3/4 cup cornstarch 1/4 cup at a time until dissolved. Microwave mixture for 2 minutes; whisk smooth. Return to microwave and heat for 2-3 more minutes, or until the mixture starts to turn opaque. Whisk again – mixture should have the appearance of white paste.
Add sugar and corn syrup. Heat for 5 minutes in microwave. Remove bowl with pot holders and whisk smooth. Heat for 5 more minutes; remove and whisk smooth again. At this point the mixture will be thick and translucent. Heat for an additional 5 minutes and whisk in lemon juice and food coloring. Whisk until mixture is smooth and color is evenly distributed. Heat 3 more minutes in microwave. You’ll know when the mixture is done when you try to whisk the mixture and a large portion of the candy batter holds in the balloon of your whisk. Mixture will be very thick. You can check consistency by letting a small bit candy batter sit for a few minutes in a condiment cup. When cooled a little, you should be able to pick it up and roll it into a ball without it being tacky. If your batter has not reached consistency, heat at 3 minute intervals until consistency is achieved.
Grease the 8×8 or loaf pan with cooking spray or oil and pour in candy batter. Spray/grease the back of a spoon -the batter doesn’t spread well, so just do the best you can to spread it evenly with the back of greased spoon. Let candy set up at room temperature until firm enough to handle. This may take several hours – mine set up in about two.
Cut candy with a sharp knife or scissors into even squares. You can do this in the pan or turn the block of candy out on a cutting board dusted with cornstarch. I cut mine a little larger than usual at about 1 1/2″ square. In a bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Roll candy in mixture. Serve candy topped with pistachios on a tray with cocktail picks, or in individual paper cups.
Rosewater may be used in place of the lemon extract – though you may want to start with 1/2 tsp. and increase amount to taste.
Seeds of one vanilla bean may be added to both rosewater and lemon batters.