|Turkish Delight in Istanbul|
“It is dull, son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty, said Edmund.
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmond and never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now and very comfortable.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as you will recall, is the story of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, evacuated from London during the war and their subsequent discovery of and adventures in Narnia. It is easy to understand why Edmund would request Turkish Delight. Sugar was rationed and this calls for a lot of sugar.
Here are two recipes for Turkish Delight, in case your children are wondering about it like mine did, or in case you just happen to enjoy it like I do.
3 (25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
½ cup cold water
½ cup hot water
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp)
½ tsp lemon extract
about ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1- Pour the gelatin into cold water. Set aside.
2- In a medium saucepan, bring the hot water and granulated sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Add the salt, and stir in the softened gelatin until completely dissolved. Simmer 20 minutes.
3- Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon extract.
4- Rinse a 6 inch square pan with cold water. The pan should be wet, but not have standing water. Pour the mixture in the pan. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5- Sift some of the confectioners’ sugar onto a plate. Moisten a sharp knife in very hot water and run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the candy. Invert the pan over the plate. It may be necessary to work on the edges to loosen them enough to turn the candy out on top of the sugar. Cut the square into equal width stripes, about 1 inch wide. Coat each strip with confectioners’ sugar. Store covered at room temperature.
This recipe may be found on page 104 of The Kids’ Book Club Book: reading, ideas, recipes, activities and smart tips for organizing terrific kids’ book clubs by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.
The second recipe is, I think, a bit more simplified and more to my taste.
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups water
2 cups sugar
3 tbsp white corn syrup
¾ cup cornstarch
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup coarsely chopped nut: pistachio, almonds or walnuts
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, more or less as needed, for coating
1- Sprinkle gelatin into ½ cup water, and set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
2- Pour another ½ cup water into medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sugar and corn syrup, and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Continue cooking until mixture reaches 240°F on candy thermometer or until it form a soft ball when ½ tsp of mixture is dropped into a cup of cold water. Reduce heat to medium.
3- Dissolve cornstarch in remaining ½ cup water, and mix well. Add to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, simmer slowly until very thick, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Add lemon juice and gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin dissolves. Add nuts and stir thoroughly.
5- Cut into 1 inch squares and roll each piece in confectioners’ sugar to coat all sides.
This recipe may be found on page 66 of Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students by Lois Sinaiko Webb.
Both of these books are excellent for getting young readers interested in cooking (with adult supervision, of course.) I have found this is a fun way to spend time with the kids in my family, all of whom can now cook, including my 8 year old niece who wants to be a chef.
**If you are ever visiting New York, Economy Candy is not to be missed. It is located at 108 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002, or visit it at Economy Candy
The Lower East Side is a not to be missed neighborhood in NYC.
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