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Turkish Delight with Pistachios and Rosewater

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Turkish Delight is a chewy, traditional Middle Eastern candy.

Turkish Delight is a chewy, traditional Middle Eastern candy.

This recipe doesn’t call for mastic, but uses cornstarch and gelatin to make the powerful ‘glue’ that binds the nuts in the candy.

Also, some Turkish Delight comes in bars about 1 1/2 inches thick and 5-7 inches long, though this recipe, from, cuts the candy in small pieces. I like the bars version and would cut the firmed-up candy into bars, then roll the bars in the coating, which here calls for powdered sugar.

However, other recipes I’ve seen called for a mixture of flour or semolina and powdered sugar. The bars that I tasted recently from Istanbul, however, were coated in what appeared to be semolina flour, maybe mixed with cornstarch (but not much) and NO sugar. That worked for me, as the candy itself is plenty sweet enough.

Also, when we test this recipe, we’ll stir some fresh pomegranate seeds into the cooled mixture, too.

See article on another type of binder that is used for this candy in the Middle East, from a tree that grows only in Greece.


Turkish Delight with Pistachios and Rosewater

 1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios
4  ( 1/4-ounce)  envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 3 tablespoons)
2  3/4 cups cold water
1 cup cornstarch
3 cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons rosewater
1 drop red food coloring if desired
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar plus additional if necessary
Oil an 8-inch square baking pan and line with plastic wrap. Oil plastic wrap.

In a small saucepan of boiling water blanch pistachios 3 minutes and drain in a sieve. Rinse pistachios under cold running water and pat dry. Rub skins off pistachios.

In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and let soften. In another small bowl stir together 1/8 cup cold water and cornstarch.

In a 4-quart heavy kettle stir together remaining 1 1/2 cups cold water, granulated sugar, and rosewater and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in gelatin and cornstarch mixtures and boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, 10 minutes (mixture will be very thick). Stir in pistachios and food coloring and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour mixture into baking pan, smoothing top with spatula, and cool. Chill confection, loosely covered, until set, about 4 hours.

Sift 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Invert confection onto sugar and peel off plastic wrap. Cut confection into 1/8-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar over cubes and toss to coat. Wrap cubes in parchment paper (do not use wax paper, plastic wrap, or airtight containers because confections will weep) and chill. Turkish Delight may be made 2 weeks ahead and kept chilled, wrapped in parchment paper. (See note above recipe on another way to cut and coat the candy.)

Just before serving, recoat Turkish Delight in additional confectioners’ sugar.


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