Istanbul Cult Recipes
Turkish delight is not easy to get right. The secret lies in the soft texture of the sweet and thus in the cooking of the sugar. If not cooked enough, it will stay too soft; too long on the heat and it will harden as it cools. As a result, you need to watch the consistency of the sugar paste very carefully during cooking; before taking it off the heat, it should be like a dense, malleable rubber.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For a few handfuls of Turkish delight
Variation: You can flavour the Turkish delight with (200 ml/7 fl oz) pomegranate juice or orange flower water instead of water, or add (50 g/13/4 oz) sweetened fruit purée or (20 g/3/4 oz) roughly chopped almonds or pistachio nut kernels) to the mixture after the lemon juice.
Prepare a small heatproof glass or ceramic dish (about 16 x 10 x 6 cm/6 x 4 x 2 inches) for the Turkish delight: it needs to be narrow (the cubes of Turkish delight will be a good 2 cm/3/4 inch tall and wide), and very lightly greased with a few drops of sunflower oil, then coated with cornflour (cornstarch). Pour 150 ml (5 fl oz) water into a glass. Take 3 tablespoons of it and blend with the cornflour to make a paste. Add the rest with the sugar in a medium saucepan, and stir off the heat until completely dissolved. Next, stir the cornflour paste into the sugar syrup. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gently stir for about 10 minutes. When the sugar comes to the boil, reduce the heat slightly (between medium and low), add the lemon juice and mastic, and continue to cook, stirring regularly. After a good further 20 minutes, the sugar will take on the consistency of a thick gum that sticks to the spoon, comes away cleanly from the sides of the pan and takes time to sink back to the bottom. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, and leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar, and cut into small cubes.