Monday, January 7, 2013

Rose Water "Turkish Delights" and "The White Issue"

** I am tickled to mention that the article below is currently being included in a beautiful magazine called The Gatherings.  They have published a gorgeous issue this month called "The White Issue" especially for the winter season.  Please follow the link and enjoy all of the other wonderful articles.






Many of us recall that scene in the movie “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” when Edward is tempted by the evil White Witch with “Turkish Delights”.  So many of us had to experience the taste of those soft pillowy little treats.  

Like many others, we had never encountered sweets like these before.  With the fluffy white snowflakes falling and Edward wrapped up, nestled in that gorgeous winter sleigh, those Turkish Delights rested so innocently in the beautiful candy bowl and enticed many viewers to seek out their pleasures.






Our family, too, became fascinated by those wintery-looking soft little squares.   We seemed to stumble across them in each place we’ve lived.  My son, like many young Edwards in the world, was most fascinated by these sugary confections.  

I went on a quest to find these delights and bring the movie to reality for us. 







Every Christmas, since my son was eight, regardless of which new city we called home, he finds a little box of Turkish Delights tucked into his holiday stocking.  Right near the Public Market in Seattle, Washington there is a little shop, called Turkish Delight that sells all varieties of these pillowy soft powdered sugar treats.  

We reveled in selecting a few flavors to try and throughout the day in Seattle we enjoyed these little bites.







Again, in London, England we unexpectedly came across another source for Turkish Delights.  It was a brisk and windy November day in the city of London.  We decided to visit the wonderful Borough Street Market (a must see if you are a foodie).  We came across a Turkish stall that offered an array of Turkish Delights.  We scooped up little bags of assorted flavors and enjoyed the wintery London day, wrapped up in big scarves, and little nibbles at our fingertips.







Now, we find ourselves in the vast metropolis of Houston.  We knew Turkish Delights could likely be found in this huge multi-cultural population.  It didn’t take us long to discover the popular and fascinating Middle Eastern market, Phoenicia, right here in the city.  

While fresh pita bread slides down a circular conveyor belt right in the middle of the market, tucked in the back of the store, Middle Eastern sweets are prepared and sold in the store’s bakery.  And, of course, an array of Turkish Delights is offered in assorted flavor varieties. 






We have always enjoyed the intriguing flavor of rose water in these sweet confections.  Making them at home was a fun candy endeavor as we attempted to master the art of making these candies.   We have always stumbled across Turkish Delights during the cold winter months.  The scene from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is so filled with frosty wind-chilled moments, just like during the cold of winter when we   enjoyed these candies.  

The powdered sugar flutters all over scarves and mitts and the velvety texture of the candy is such a contrast to the iciness all around.  Turkish Delights…depicted in a captivating moment in a childhood film…that inspired a generation of winter holiday tradition in our family, from Turkish Delights found in Seattle, Washington to London, England and now in Houston, Texas.  




Microwave Turkish Delight
(recipe is from the popular blog ‘Sprinkle Bakes’)

Equipment:
4 qt. microwave safe glass bowl - such as Pyrex (we used a plastic mixing bowl)
Whisk
8x8 pan or standard loaf pan (we used an 11x14 tray)
Two pot holders
Knife or scissors

Make the candy:
2 1/2 cups of cold water
3/4 cup cornstarch, plus 1/2 cup for dusting candy squares
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp. pure rose water extract (or known as syrup)
2 drops red or pink liquid food coloring
Cooking spray, or cooking oil (light taste, like canola) for greasing pan
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Ground pistachios *optional

Pour the water into a 4-quart glass bowl.  Whisk in the 3/4 cup cornstarch 1/4 cup at a time until dissolved.  Microwave mixture for 2 minutes; whisk smooth.  Return to microwave and heat for 2-3 more minutes, or until the mixture starts to turn opaque.  Whisk again - mixture should have the appearance of white paste.
Add sugar and corn syrup.  (we used a hand mixture until it got too thick)

Heat for 5 minutes in microwave.  Remove bowl with pot holders and whisk smooth.  Heat for 5 more minutes; remove and whisk smooth again.  At this point the mixture will be thick and translucent. 

Heat for an additional 5 minutes and whisk in rosewater syrup and food coloring.  Whisk until mixture is smooth and color is evenly distributed.  Heat 3 more minutes in microwave. 

You'll know when the mixture is done when you try to whisk the mixture and a large portion of the candy batter holds in the balloon of your whisk.  Mixture will be very thick.  You can check consistency by letting a small bit candy batter sit for a few minutes in a condiment cup.  When cooled a little, you should be able to pick it up and roll it into a ball without it being tacky.  **This is an important step.  F it isn’t tacky, they will be too soft to hold a nice shape.  If your batter has not reached consistency, heat at 3 minute intervals until consistency is achieved.

Grease the 8x8 or loaf pan (we used an 11x14 tray) with cooking spray or oil and pour in candy batter.  Spray/grease the back of a spoon -the batter doesn't spread well, so just do the best you can to spread it evenly with the back of greased spoon.  Let candy set up at room temperature until firm enough to handle. This may take several hours - mine set up in about two.

Cut candy with a sharp knife or scissors into even squares. You can do this in the pan or turn the block of candy out on a cutting board dusted with cornstarch.  I cut mine a little larger than usual at about 1 1/2" square.  In a bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Roll candy in mixture.  Serve candy topped with pistachios on a tray with cocktail picks, or in individual paper cups.







39 comments:

  1. The color and texture of these little gems is glorious---and congratulations on the magazine appearance, that's fantastic!

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous - congratulations on the magazine article.

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  3. Love this! And love your powdered sugar trail of memories across the world, too:)

    I have all of these ingredients - I'm going to make these tomorrow!

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    1. Good luck Emma! We started off with a wire whisk and then took out the electric hand mixer. That worked right up until the last stirring and then it was too thick even for that.

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    2. I've made them and now they are setting up on the counter! I'll see how they turn out, but I know they'll be delicious:) I took them to that last consistency step with an immersion blender... now to clean up all the sticky implements!

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  4. What beautiful pictures! I will definitely be trying these. And congratulations on the magazine article!

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  5. Congrats on the article! And what a totally fun tradition. Because of CS Lewis, there was always something a little forbidden about these treats. I'm also really glad you discovered Phoenicia

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    1. Phoenicia is fantastic. I had to go back by myself so I could move at a snail's pace up and down the aisles. That is also where I found the rosewater.

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  6. I absolutely love Turkish Delight! And rose is my favorite flavor.

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  7. You're right: there is something particularly delicious about the Turkish delights described in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I'm sure that's where my 'delight' in these confections began, but rosewater is one of my favourite flavourings regardless.

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    1. It's funny how similar my son and I are when it comes to food. We were both so captivated by everything in that scene. All senses were firing but especially the tastebuds and curiosity!

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  8. Congratulations on being included in The White issue of The Gathering! Before I moved on to teaching at the junior high level, I taught 4th grade for many years - where "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was a yearly read. I always managed to find a box of Turkish Delight for my students - who just loved it! I'd love to try your recipe!

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    1. Memories like what you created are so powerful. I'll never forget my french teacher inviting us to her house to learn how to make croissants!

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  9. I have yet to develop a taste for Turkish Delight. I just find them too sweet. But perhaps that's an obvious reaction from someone who loves espresso and chocolate with at least 95% cocoa solids in it :)

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    1. Loree, amazingly I like Turkish Delights but cannot stomach baklava. That doesn't make sense!

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  10. Congratulations on getting the article in the magazine. Your photos of the Turkish delight are so ethereally beautiful they make me want to gaze at them for hours. Very calming.

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  11. Congrats, Sarah! I absolutely adore proper Turkish delight, and this is close enough to proper for me. I could easily sit and scoff an entire bowl of those sugar dusted babies!

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    1. Miss T, I have no idea what you are referring to here...but if it did...I'm sure I would be chuckling with humor!!

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  13. Lovely, Sarah! Now I'm craving turkish delights!

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  14. These look so good... my hubby would be very happy if I made these.

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  15. I'm incredibly impressed that you MADE Turkish delight (!) but what I love about this story is the thread of continuity that connects all your homes. May you always find Turkish delight, dear Sarah. Congratulations on a beautiful article and happy new year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Ann...have a wonderful month in Normandy!

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  16. How fun to flip through that gorgeous magazine and see you there! I've always said your posts belongs in books or magazines! Lovely..,.and now I want an entirely white home. haha.

    lovely little delights, too...love the stocking tradition!

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    1. I know! Doesn't this issue make you think about that whole French country white look? That isn't my style here but I sure do love it when I see it in magazines!

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  17. This is an interesting recipe for sure. I am really tempted to try. It sounds very similar to an Indian dish made with pumpkins. I will buzz you if I run into any trouble. You can help me trouble shoot the candy mixture if I fail somewhere.

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    1. It was a bit tricky near the end because it is difficult to stir and then difficult to get it all to gloop into the dish. Eventually gravity pulls in down and then it is just waiting for it to firm up. Cutting it up and rolling it in powdered sugar is fun.

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  18. You know, I never tried to make them at home. The delights (or purchasing them) has become a ritual for the past 12 years for me and my mom. Everytime I visit, we take the whole day to go to the Spice Bazaar, try as many as we can , then settle on several flavors, then buy boxes and boxes of them for me to bring back here. Let me know if you want some, I am going in February. Would love to send you a box...I am thinking pomegranate and pistachios:)
    And I never knew about that reference in Narnia. I remember letting a big surprised "Aaaa" out in the movie theater. And Aslan means Lion in Turkish.

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    1. Ilke, I must come over for a visit. I have some exciting news. I love that Turkish Delights are a ritual in your family too. Often, I wonder if we Americans make up our own tourist versions of everything. February in Istanbul. I'm sure you are so excited! Aslan means "lion" in Turkish! I had to nudge my husband in bed to let him know this wonderful tidbit. I'll definitely tell my son this morning!

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  19. Beautiful pictures, gorgeous colors :)

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  20. Sarah, Your photos are incredibly beautiful…and the Turkish delights are gorgeous! I grew up on Turkish Delights, and a very long time ago tried to make them…a total failure! Yours came out wonderful...I will have to give your recipe a try!! Congratulations on being chosen for the magazine…your photos are truly worthy!!

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  21. I'm a sucker for anything pink and the fact that they're microwaved + infused with rosewater I'm in! =)

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  22. Lovely dessert. I love this kind of sweets. Gorgeous presentation.

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  23. I think I already see some little girl eyes lighting up with delight! I will let you know how they turn out... as soon as we can get around to making them. Miss you!!!!

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  24. Hi Sarah,
    These are my husband's absolute favorites! I always think of the Narnia movie when I see them. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the magazine feature

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  25. quick question, i was unable to find rose water, but i have star kay white brand pure rose extract. can i use this to get the rose flavor in the turkish delight? if so, how can i use this to make the proper amount of rose water? i appreciate your help on the matter!

    -Stephanie

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    1. Hi Stephanie. I'm on the road at the moment but I Saw your question . I would dilute your extract in a half cup of water with

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    2. oops, that didn't go through all the way. ..."dilute your extract with half a cup of water and a teaspoon of the extract". I don't know if that will work. Perhaps better a weaker rose taste than too strong of one?

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