Literary Lashings: Turkish Delight

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I got introduced to the world of real fantasy rather late in life. As a kid, I grew up reading Enid Blyton, Hans Christian Andersen and little anecdotes from Hindu mythology and that was my world of fantasy. And all of a sudden, I was 17 surrounded by peers talking about fantasy books that were unheard of by me.

I felt uninformed and negligent. So I wanted to catch up with what I had been missing out on and I was introduced to a whole new world of fantasy, thanks to a few friends, you know who you are.

 

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But strangely, I am glad I was exposed to some of them at 17 and not 12. I mean, I don’t know how much of The Lord of the Rings I could’ve actually comprehended when I was that young. I have reread the book a few times now and every time I do, I look at it differently, there is always something new to be discovered.

One such book I reread not many days ago is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from The Chronicles of Narnia. The first time I read the book, I remember resenting Edmund Pevensie for having fallen prey to Turkish Delight (Lokum) but I also didn’t have an inkling that such a thing actually existed in the real world.

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After reading up on Turkish Delight, I kind of felt sorry for Edmund, I mean, gluttony is something I indulge in ever so often. The candy allegedly brought on peace at a Sultan’s harem in Turkey when he asked his confectioner to conjure up something sweet that would satisfy his battalion of wives.

Recreating Turkish Delight in my very own kitchen certainly didn’t bring tranquility; pots and pans were knocking over each other often and sugar was spilt everywhere. But the experience transported me to a Turkish confectionary shop of all things saccharine and more importantly, to the world of Narnia, were the candy was unfortunately a symbol of temptation.

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Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp corn flour (extra to dust)
  • 300 g (1.5 cups) caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ tbsp rosewater
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • Drop of red food colouring
  • 2 heaped tbsp icing sugar

Method

  • Oil and line a 6X8 inch rectangular tin with parchment paper.
  • Pour the cold water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the corn flour to it, a spoon at a time, whisking continuously, until it dissolves.
  • Place the saucepan on the stove and keep the flame at medium-high. Keep stirring the mixture with a whisk, continuously, until it becomes an opaque, white paste (10 minutes)
  • Now, add the sugar and the corn syrup. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes translucent (5 minutes).
  • Now add rosewater, lemon juice, zest and red food colouring.
  • Keep stirring the mixture until it becomes really thick that a large portion of the mixture sticks to the whisk and becomes hard to come off.
  • Once you reach that consistency, put off the heat.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it out using an offset spatula.
  • Allow it to set overnight until firm, ready to be cut.
  • Sprinkle corn flour over a cutting board. Topple the tin over the cutting board and unwrap the parchment paper.
  • Cut the candy into thick 1 inch squares. Roll the squares in icing sugar.
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