Turkish Delight or Lakhoum
The preparation of Turkish Delight or Lakhoum in Turkey dates back to more than 300 years, so Turkish Delight is one of the oldest sweets in the world.
The story goes that a Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had his confectioner develop the candy to please his many wives. Whatever the truth, the sweet has been known for a long time as Lakhoum (and variations of this name in other middle eastern countries) and has been mentioned in stories, songs and was a featured song in the stage and screen musical, Kismet.
I personally will never forget the number with Dolores Gray and Howard Keel singing “Rahadlakum” in the Grand Wazir’s harem.
Lakhoum, also known as Turkish Delight
Rind of 1 medium lemon finely grated
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar (superfine)
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
2 tablespoons gelatin/agar agar or guar gum (for vegetarian candy)
1 cup (8 fl oz) water, extra
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon rose flower water or one teaspoon rose extract/food grade
red food coloring – couple of drops only.
1/2 cup icing (confectioners) sugar (for coating)
For orange flavored candy, substitute for the lemon and rose flavors –
rind of 1 medium orange
1/4 cup (2 fl oz) orange juice concentrate
3-4 drops of orange flower water.
Or you can use other liquid flavorings such as cinnamon, clove, anise.
Line base and sides of an 8 inch square cake tin
with aluminum foil, leaving edges overhanging.
Brush or spray foil with oil or melted butter.
Remove white pith from citrus rinds.
Combine rind, juice, sugar and water in large heavy-based pan.
Stir over medium heat without boiling until sugar has completely
Brush the sugar crystals that form on the sides of pan with a wet pastry
Bring to boil, reduce heat slightly and boil without stirring for 5 minutes or boil until a teaspoon of mixture dropped into cold water forms long threads, or if using a sugar thermometer it must reach 221 F.
Combine gelatin (or the substitute) with 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) extra
water in bowl. Stir over hot water until dissolved. In separate
bowl combine cornstarch with remaining 4 oz. water, mix until smooth.
Add gelatin and cornstarch mixtures to sugar syrup.
Stir over medium heat just until mixture boils and clears.
Remove from heat immediately.
Stir in flower water (rose or orange) and a few drops red food coloring or yellow and red to make orange.
Pour mixture through a fine wire sieve into the greased tin; refrigerate over night.
When set peel off foil and cut into squares. ( I have been using the silicone baking pans and they work very well.)
Toss cubes in confectioner’s sugar. (If you have stored a vanilla bean in the sugar it gives it a very nice, subtle, extra flavor.
You can also add coarsely chopped nuts to the mixture after adding the gelatin/cornstarch mixtures. Pistachios are traditional but cashews, pecans, walnuts any slightly soft nut, will work but they have to be very fresh.
You can also chop the nuts and steam them for a few minutes to gently soften them, but not too much.