Thursday, October 18, 2007

Retro, Retro - Turkish Delight no. 1

These are the stickiest things that have ever stuck in the whole history of sticking.

They add a whole new meaning to the term - jelly wrestling.

They are none other than Turkish Delight no.1. I made these for the retro recipe blog event, hosted this month by Dolores from the terrific Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. The theme is sugar and the idea is that the recipe must pre-date 1980. Where else could I turn but to my ever faithful CWA cook book.

The preparation is deceptively simple. Boil together some sugar, water and gelatine. Flavour with lemon. That's about it.

Then comes a very innocent little instruction to pour into a wet bowl and cut into squares when set.

This would be all very well if the stuff didn't stick and cling with the determination of a crazed limpet beset by a tidal wave.

There were issues in kitchen Chez KJ.

Problem no.1 - getting it out of the bowl. The knife is immediately taken hostage. And it doesn't come out again without a fight. Then the jelly immediately just resticks itself right back to the bowl.

My solution: Hold bowl upside down and pull with fingers.

Better idea: actually, you know, read the recipe and use a hot knife to cut.

Problem no.2 - getting it off fingers.

My solution: Dump onto a cutting board. Pull one hand free. Use downward force from flat knife to pull the other other hand free. Just leave the knife stuck there.

Better idea: Use free hand to coat with cornflour and then pull other hand free.

Even better idea: Dont't use fingers in the first place, see above.

Problem no.3 - cutting into squares.

My solution: lots of effort, leverage and swearing.

Better idea: use a long bladed hot knife, see above and above, that can slice across the whole length.

Problem no.4 - retrieving said squares. Even if you manage to get the knife through the stuff, it just immediately resticks itself all back together again. At the same time clinging like a mad thing to the cutting board beneath.

My solution: abandon all decorum and rip it apart with your fingers.

Better idea: dust the board with a layer of cornflour first. Use a hot knife to cut, see above and above and above.

Problem no.5 - getting it off fingers.

My solution: spend ages in a loony comedy routine passing it from finger to finger and then clothes, hair and half the kitchen. Tiring of that, dunk the whole lot (fingers with jelly attached) into cornflour and then grip the coated part with free hand, detach and coat the remaining naked bit.

Better idea: Errrm, I can't think of one.

Enough of your trials and tribulations I hear you say. How did it taste? Not bad, not bad at all, I answer. I would describe it more as a jelly jube than a turkish delight. The outside forms into a crispy sugar crust.

And yes there is a Turkish Delight no.2. It uses honey and cornflour rather than gelatine. Maybe one day.

Turkish Delight No. 1
(adapted from the CWA Cookery Book and Household Hints)

Soak 30gm of gelatine in a little cold water and dissolve over the fire.

Bring 500gm of sugar, 250ml or water and a strip of lemon rind to the boil. Add dissolved gelatine and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the juice of 1 lemon and pour into a wet dish. When cold and set cut into squares with a hot knife. Roll in cornflour and leave on a wire rack for 24 hours.


At 9:21 pm, Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

KJ, I have never tried turkish delight but have a recipe here for it.
Even though you scared me a little (and made me laugh hard, too), I still would love to try it someday! :)

At 10:37 pm, Blogger Cottage Smallholder said...

This made me laugh KJ. You've had so much fun with that horrendous cookbook!

At 1:06 am, Blogger Deborah said...

What an adventure!! I've never had Turkish Delight, so I wouldn't even know what to expect.

At 1:28 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is too funny KJ - kinda remind me of my experiences where in i'm stuck with something sticky with no where to go and I think "Now what?" They look stickily delicious!

At 8:47 am, Blogger Mansi said...

wow, that was quite a bit of problem-solving! worth the end result though:)

I'm hosting A food event on peach this month, and it's be great if you could send in an entry! canned peaches or nectarines are allowed too...I'd be glad to have you at the roundup!

At 4:00 am, Blogger Cynthia said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the way you presented this :)

At 4:07 am, Blogger Kelly-Jane said...

That has brought back some memories! I tried turkish delight when I was about 14, and I remember that jelly thing you describe here! It's funny looking back, but at the time I can recall the perfectionist in me being mighty pi@@ed off!

You did a great job and your post is a great read too =)

At 8:50 am, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Patricia, let me know how it goes if you do try your recipe.

Hi Fiona, I have given the poor CWA cookbook a bit of a hard time. But it really does have lots of great stuff in it. I am going to post about some of that at some point.

Hi Deborah, you are missing out. I love real, proper turkish delight.

Hi Veron, you summed it up perfectly, 'now what?' LOL.

Hi Mansi, thanks for the invite, and I'm sorry I won't be able to participate. Life is about to get incredibly hectic. Best of luck for the roundup. I will be reading.

Hi Cynthia, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Kelly-Jane. I'm a bit of a perfectionist too. Too much so. Cooking has taught me to deal with failure. I get lots and lots of practice.

At 6:42 pm, Blogger Amanda at Little Foodies said...

This made me laugh a lot. I've got to make turkish delight now just so we can have this much fun. I know the boys would love it.

At 10:16 pm, Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Thanks KJ for the chuckle. You had me laughing out loud with your antics!!! My dad loves Turkish Delight so he always gets some at Christmas...but not homemade. I don't know if I dare...wink..wink...

At 9:24 am, Blogger Nora B. said...

Chez KJ, this is too funny! I have been thinking about making my own turkish delight for ages, but I'm not that good at jelly wrestling ;-)

At 3:34 pm, Blogger Dolores said...

Belated thanks for this hysterical contribution to RRC #9. I'll never work with gelatin without thinking of you... :)

At 4:05 pm, Blogger Julie said...

Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard, I'm crying a little! They look great, for all the trouble they caused! Bravo for your perseverance!

At 8:09 pm, Blogger Melynda Huskey said...

Fabulous photo--it looks so sweet and innocent, dusted with cornstarch and wrapped in flawless white . . . who'd believe that it left a kitchen, and a cook, in ruins? Does it stick to your teeth with the same tenacity as it stuck to your hands?

At 4:18 am, Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

I'm sorry you had so much trouble with this recipe -- but the final product looks absolutely wonderful!

At 8:30 pm, Blogger KPB said...

You know, I would never in my wildest dreams consider making turkish delight, but this? and the final picture, showing the sugary crusty and wobbly inside? means its now on the list of 'at least once'.

Hope India is amazing and fulfilling in only a way I imagine India can be.


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