Saturday, September 19, 2009

Turkish Delight

Last day in Istanbul, so firstly I wanted to see the Hagia Sofia. It is amazing to be there, the Hagia Sofia is opposite the Blue Mosque, they look similar to heach other, just that the Hagia Sofia is good 1000 years older, finished in 536 AD. Unbelievable what they built then, at the time the biggest Christian church. Then 1540 about the Ottoman Empire cam and the Hagia Sofia was converted into a mosque till 1938 when Ataturk declared it to be a museum. 1500 years old and still standing, this is awesome and when standing inside the church one is humbled.

Then on the way back I wanted to do some shopping, I needed to try some of the traditional desserts, the Turkish delight. Now of course what happened in the shop was that I got side tracked by this funny looking rolls, they are still Turkish Delights but called Sultans Delight or "Sultan Muzlu" They are, what else would I expect, as sweet and a little chewy like the normal Turkish Delight.

I just went into this lovely little pastry shop, full of Baklava, Turkish delights, Cakes, Fistik Sarma, a Pistachio roll, just with enough Fyllo pastry around to hold the sweet paste together, and chatted away to the two guys there, with very little English, as my Turkish in non existent, they told me what the different desserts are, and I even got some small tasters, especially when they found out that I am a chef of one of the cruise ships, so of course I had to take as well a business card from the shop, just in case I would need a whole lot more of these delightful dainties.

4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
1 cup confectioners sugar
Vegetable oil or shortening

Preparation:In a 9 inch baking pan, grease the sides and bottom with vegetable oil or shortening. Line with wax paper and grease the wax paper.

In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water on medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine cream of tartar, 1 cup corn starch and remaining water in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all lumps are gone and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring when the mixture has a glue like consistency.

Stir in the lemon juice, water and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, Allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has become a golden color, stir in rosewater.

Pour mixture into wax paper lined pan. Spread evenly and allow to cool overnight.

Once it has cooled overnight, sift together confectioners sugar and remaining cornstarch. Turn over baking pan containing Turkish delight onto clean counter or table and cut with oiled knife into one inch pieces.

Coat with confectioners sugar mixture. Serve or store in airtight container in layers separated with wax or parchment paper.

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