Saturday, January 5, 2008

Raspberry Delight

Fictional food always makes me hungry. When I read a good book, I become engrossed in the story, relating to the hero (or heroine), so that when they sit down to a meal in a Mexican restaurant, the description of warm plates filled with gooey, melty cheese and the smell of fresh tortillas fried in sizzling lard gives me the urge to leap up and make a plate of nachos. But what I eat is never as good as it sounds in the book.

One fictional food that has intrigued me since childhood is in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. One of the boys, Edmund, has met the evil witch and with a drop of her magical potion in the snow she makes Turkish Delight, a sweet, sticky, utterly addictive confection. I always wondered what this delightful treat looked and tasted like. Then one day I found a recipe in The Joy of Cooking for Turkish Delight and, naturally, had to try it.

It is sweet, sticky, and hard to resist. Something like a fruit jelly candy, but with nuts, and rolled in powdered sugar. Yumm. Joy has two different methods for making it. I've made it with pectin, which turned out well, but is a bit pricey, considering the amount of liquid pectin needed. This year I noticed that the second method calls for gelatin, which I happen to have in abundance for spur of the moment marshmallow making. I also had some raspberries from the freezer which had thawed into an unattractive lump of mush. I decided to use their juice and my Turkish Delight turned out so pretty, like sparkling raspberry jewels in the snow! I'm confident Edmund could not have resisted it.

Turkish Delight
adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Raspberry juice, simmered over low heat and reduced to 1/3 cup
2 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp gelatin
2/3 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Confectioners' sugar

Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch pan. Scatter the chopped nuts in the bottom.

Combine the first five ingredients in a glass measuring cup and let stand at least 5 minutes.

Place the water and sugar in a large heavy pan over moderate heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the solution starts to boil, cover and boil 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook without stirring to the soft-ball stage, 234 deg. F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add the gelatin mixture. Return to heat and stir until thermometer registers 224 deg. F.

Pour the mixture over the nuts in the pan. Let stand for 12 hours. When the mixture is very firm dust it with the confectioners' sugar.

Cut into squares by pressing down with a buttered or sugared knife. Dust a work surface or baking sheet with confectioners' sugar and turn the candies onto it, turning the candies so that all sides are coated. If you plan on packing these candies, let them stand sugared 12 hours or more on a rack. Redust on all sides and pack, then store tightly covered.

**Another interesting discovery I made was that a popular local confection, Aplets and Cotlets, is actually Turkish Delight. At the turn of the century two Armenian young men emigrated to the United States and bought an apple orchard in Cashmere, Washington. Apples grew well there and when they had a surplus on their hands they decided to recreate the candy of their childhood, Rahat Locoum, also known as Turkish Delight. Aplets and Cotlets, made from apples and apricots, are very popular and we always buy a box at Christmastime then have wars about who gets the last piece.


marye said...

Turkish Delight?
Oh my! It totally enchanted me as a child..I need to try this..and yours came out great

Gabe said...

I am a huge Narnia fan and I have also always wondered about Turkish delight.

Btw, it was Edmond who got hooked on Turkish delight. ;)


**doffs her cap and vanishes**

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Lynn you totally delight me! I love the memory of reading.
I remember my grandmother making this but would never have remembered the name. Beautiful photos. Really love this.

Ellie said...

Red jewels indeed, what gorgeous photos they take! I have to admit that I was a touch confused at first as walnuts and raspberries are not something I've ever encountered in Turkish delight, but I'm totally intruiged and eager to give this a go!

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

Peabody said...

I was just going to say that aplets and cotlets were turkish delights...first thing I thought of when I saw what you made. I love these candies they are soo good. I never thought about making them myself though...but now I want to!

Ben said...

It looks and tastes really good. I've never had these before so this is a good reason to get my butt up and cook something today. :D

Melinda said...

Snap, to Peabody's comment! I would never have thought to try raspberry Turkish delight but I bet is is scrummy. Turkish Delight is quite common here. I love the rose flavoured one.
I had a different curiosity when reading books. Old fashion terms for medical consumption, chilblains, bilious, dropsy...that kind of thing. Dickens and Thackeray are full of funny medical conditions! I love the medical description today of fat Mr. Pickwick and his puffy breathing. We call it Pickwickian syndrome. It describes the breathing perfectly!
Your food reading curiosity is much more romantic than mine!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What a lovely idea! As I read through the recipe, I felt like it looked so familiar. Thank you for making the connection with applets & cotlets! My mother insisted on having these around the holidays. I shall now have to try to make my own! And I may need to watch the Narnia movie today! :)

Bellini Valli said...

C.S. Lewis was my favourite author when I was a child. I visited Narnia often. I moved on to the Hobbit when I was a little older, and now the Lymond Chronicles as my favourite series of books.My dad loves Turkish Delight. I was turned off of it by a chocolate bar they used to have on the market called...what else...Turkish Delight...but it was nothing like the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the "real" thing!!

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh this turkish delight look so delicous. hmmm you really know how to push my button..... a must try recipe!

VeggieGirl said...

It's incredible just how convincing descriptions in a novel can be - particularly when it comes to food! so glad you were inspired to make these Turkish delights, since they look quite delectable.

Anonymous said...

...mmm your turkish delights look amazing! My mom loves them. I can't wait to surprise her with them!

JEP said...

Delightful post today & amazing photo--thanks!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

We used to get applets and cottlets every year in the mail... Now I can make them myself!

Brilynn said...

That book was one of my favourites as a child! The addition of raspberry to your turkish delight sounds wonderful!

Emiline said...

Oh my goodness! What a wonderful idea. I have quite a bit of gelatin, too. (I never know what to do with it)
I don't have any raspberries, but I do have frozen blackberries and blueberries. Might give this a-go.

Nora B. said...

Hi Lynn,
I've always wanted to make my own turkish delight but was a bit afraid of the stickiness. I need to face my fear and just do it! Thanks for giving me the added push. Yours look lovely! I hope that mine will turned out half as good.


eatme_delicious said...

I've never had Turkish delight before. The combination of fruit jelly with nuts seems kind of odd to me but it looks pretty!

Anonymous said...

Hey i just want to say that Turkish Delight is actually not a fictional food. It's an original Turkish sweet made of candied fruits.

Just wanted to share this with you ;)

Btw, looks absolutely tantalizing, nice photographs

Aimée said...

Tow of my favorite books: Joy of Cooking and the Narnia series are combined in this post. what could be better! I have never tried the tempting delight, but there is always a first time!
Looks really, really good.

hayley said...

wow!! i love your site! thank you for sharing all your yummy recipes! -hayley

Carol Kicinski said...

So beautiful and no gluten so I can make and enjoy these. Just one question, how much raspberry juice did you start out with before it was reduced down to 1/3 of a cup?

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Marye - Thanks! It's great to get in touch with childhood memories.

Gabe - Oops, thanks for catching that. That's what I get for trying to write a post at night.

My Kitchen In Half Cups - How lucky you are to have memories of your grandmother reading to you!

Ellie - Raspberry is a non-traditional flavor (do they have raspberries in Turkey?), but it works really well.

Peabody - It's fun to make, but also nice that they are so convenient to buy, too.

Ben - I hope you had a good time with it!

Melinda - I know what you mean. When reading old stories I always wonder whether "consumption" was cancer, TB, or bad digestion.

Gretchen Noelle - Watching the movie while eating Turkish Delight - inspired!

Bellini Valli - I've never heard of the Lymond Chronicles. I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip.

Big Boys Oven - I'm sure you'll do something magical with the recipe. As you always do.

VeggieGirl - I must confess, though, I've never sprung out of my reading chair to go get carrot sticks. It's usually much more sugar oriented. I can't read about someone eating cinnamon rolls without getting the urge to go bake some.

Gigi - What an awesome daughter you are!

jep - Thanks so much!

Sandi - Can we make it? Yes we can! (Sorry, just had a Builder Bob moment there.)

Brilynn - Is there anything that isn't great with raspberries? I think raspberry bacon would be great.

Emiline - ooh, either of those berries would be delicious!

Nora b - It's not bad to work with and less sticky than jam. Try it. I think you'll enjoy it.

Eatme Delicious - It's worth setting your doubts aside to try it. Can you get Aplets and Cotlets where you live?

Aimee - Do you read aloud to your son? And is it Narnia or cookbooks? :-)

Hayley - Thanks for the super nice comment!

Carol - Ooh, I just knew someone was going to ask that. I didn't measure it before I started because I had a bag of thawed, mushy berries and I just drained them and mushed as much juice as I could out of them and then simmered it down to 1/3 of a cup. It wasn't more than 2/3 of a cup. Sorry I can't be more specific!

joey said...

That first picture is indeed irresistable! It does look like a jewel and I'm sure I would not have been able to resist either :)

I also get so drawn in by fictional food! If there is a meal being had in a book I'm reading you can be sure that I'll be craving it :)

Marcia said...

I love Turkish delight! It always reminds me of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Cooking Ninja said...

Beautiful and delicious. :)

Nora B. said...

Just dropping by to say that I took up your suggestion of making angel food cake with the left over egg whites. It turned a bit ugly but I still posted it on my blog :-) Can you let me know how yours usually look?

Chelsea said...

Thank you for answering my question. I always wondered about it. sorry for mistakes because my browswer hates me and won't show me the whole comment window. Grr.

Hendria said...

I am so going to make these..I love Turkish delight....

Dee Light said...

My daughter and her friends will love the idea of eating goodies from Narnia!!!

Debra said...

These were delicious! - Thank You for sharing the recipe.

Debra said...

Lynn- my boyfriend was delightfully surprised. :)
Do you know how reducing the sugar would affect a candy recipe? Also, do you know how to convert powder pectin into equivalent to 3/4 cup liquid pectin?
Thank you, as you already know, I'm a big fan of your blog! :)

Anonymous said...

I love Turkish Delight,but whenever I make it it always turns out stiff and breakable, and not chewy and soft,I am reluctent to buy it as it can be quite pricy for only 10 or so pieces.If you have any idea what I where I might be going wrong,please write here.

P.S Somehow the confectioners suger always dissolves into the "Turkish Delight" make...HELP!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Debra, I checked with the pectin people and they don't recommend changing from powder to liquid. They are formulated differently and it's best to stick with the recipe.

Anonymous, I would guess that you're cooking your sugar mixture to too high a temperature. Check to make sure that your candy thermometer is accurate. Also, a certain amount of the powdered sugar will be absorbed. If you're in a very humid climate, the humidity can make the sugar get all moist and sticky, too.

The Rising Panic said...

Hi there :) Sorry to post a comment on such an old post, but would it be possible for you to either post the pectin version of the recipe or to tell me what version of the Joy of Cooking you found it in?

I was thinking of making these for a friend who is vegan, so gelatin is out :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Rising Panic - It makes me happy to know that my older posts aren't being neglected. If you email me at lynncraigATcomcastDOTnet I'll be happy to send you the pectin recipe. My Joy of Cooking was published in 1982.