Rose Turkish Delight (Lokum)
As the rose season is well and truly upon us I thought I’d add a recipe for Güllü Lokum, one of my favourite sweets. During the years I spent in Cyprus, friends would bring Turkish Delight from Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir's shop on Istiklal Caddesi in Istanbul which has been run by the same family since 1777. It is divine. Accompanied by a cup of Turkish coffee, there is nothing more delicious. This recipe gives a sweet, squishy rose delight and although it is a little fiddly and time consuming, it’s well worth the effort.
for the sugar syrup:
575g granulated sugar
175g runny honey
pinch of cream of tartar
for the cornflour mixture:
130g icing sugar
3g cream of tartar
for the flavour:
12g AS.AP Aromatic Rosewater
300g shelled unsalted roasted pistachios (if you want nuts)
for cutting and dredging:
30g icing sugar on the cutting board
75g cornflour mixed with 200g icing sugar
Make a sugar syrup by putting all the relevant ingredients into a medium sized pan and mix well. Over a high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and insert a sugar thermometer. Without stirring, leave the mixture to cook until it reaches 127C/260F – this takes about 15 minutes.
In a large pan, mix the cornflour ingredients and whisk until smooth. When the sugar syrup reaches 121C/250F put on the large pan of the cornflour mixture to cook over a medium heat. Stir it constantly until it thickens – this will take 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hob, stir well with a whisk and then set aside.
The sugar syrup should now be at 127C/260F, immediately remove it from the heat and very carefully stir in the cornflour mixture. Whisk well to combine all the ingredients. Bring it to a low boil over a medium heat then reduce the heat to low and barely simmer stirring constantly. After 35-40 minutes it will turn into a gluey texture with a light golden colour. Make sure you scrape the bottom regularly to ensure it doesn’t catch or go lumpy. It needs constant attention.
Remove from the heat and stir in the AS.AP Rosewater and pistachios.
Wearing oven gloves, pour the mixture into a 9” x 13” well oiled baking tray and cover with cling film to avoid a skin forming. Leave it to cool for 6-8 hours.
Carefully peel off the cling film and dust the cutting board with the icing sugar. Turn out the Lokum onto the board. Using a well oiled knife, cut the Lokum into little squares. In a separate bowl combine the icing sugar and cornflour for dredging. Pop the cut pieces into the dredging mixture and coat well.
If you have the self-discipline, this will store for about a month layered between wax paper in an airtight container. I’d be amazed if it lasts that long.