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Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight from Rachel Allen's Home CookingNot many people make Turkish Delight so this would make a nice surprise gift – the recipe, from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking (HarperCollins hardback, rrp €30.75), is the smooth rosewater version, but Rachel says that “ if you like Turkish Delight pistachios, feel free to chop up a handful and stir into the mixture. It keeps for ages and makes a particularly lovely gift — one batch will fill quite a few boxes.” Makes about 48.

[*Alternatively, Turkish Delight can be flavoured with Crème de Menthe and coloured green, making Peppermint Turkish Delight, aka Crème de Menthe Jellies. GC]

850g (llb 140oz) caster sugar
3 x 7g sachets gelatine powder
125g (41/2oz) cornflour
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp rosewater
Few drops of red food colouring
75g (3oz) icing sugar
20cm (8in) square non-stick cake tin

1. Place the sugar and 500ml (l8fl oz) water in a large, heavy-saucepan on a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes without stirring, until a sugar thermometer dipped into the mixture reads 125°C (257°F) Alternatively, check that the hard-ball stage has been reached (see chart in the book).

2. In the meantime, stir the gelatine, cornflour and cream of tartar together in another large pan. Measure out another 500ml (18 fl oz) water and gradually whisk it into the mixture, beating well after each addition, to form a smooth paste. Be sure to break up any lumps as the gelatine may cause the mixture to stick together a little. Place the pan on a medium heat and simmer, whisking all the time, 3-5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.

3 Stir the lemon juice into the sugar syrup as soon as it reaches the correct temperature (standing back as it will sizzle up a little). Working carefully, gradually pour the sugar syrup into the gel and cornflour mixture, whisking constantly.

4 Place the pan on a low heat and simmer the mixture gently for about 1 hour until it reaches 110°C (230°F) in temperature or the thread stage (see chart in the book). Stir frequently to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan, particularly towards the end of cooking. Grease the cake tin with the sunflower oil.

5 As soon as the mixture reaches the correct temperature (it should be a deep golden colour), add the rosewater and food colouring and stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading out evenly. Set aside to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until firm.

6 Spoon the icing sugar into a fine sieve and dust half of it onto a clean work surface. Turn the Turkish delight out of the tin and use a lightly oiled knife to cut it into about 48 pieces. Dust with the remaining icing sugar and toss the pieces about to coat generously. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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