Thursday, February 17, 2011
Lokum, Loukuoumi or, of course Turkish Delight?
I do believe I have finally founded a recipe for Turkish Delight (Lokum) that works... Lokum, dates as far back as 15th Century Turkey and today refers to a confection based on a 'gel of starch and sugar'. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Delight)
Apparently, premium varieties have a greater ratio of chopped dates, pistachios and hazelnuts or walnuts to 'gel'. Personally, I love the gel.. and the nuts as well... I don't like the gel too gooey (is this a word?) or too sweet.. and I like the scent of rosewater for my gel, and the green crunch of pistachio for my nut.
I used a recipe last year from Gourmet Traveller and it was such a disaster... gooey and way too much, we threw it out
This recipe (below) is only slightly adapted from a beautiful cook book by mother-in-law gave me for Christmas: "Food from many Greek kitchens" by Tessa Kiros. The book is worth buying for the photos alone. It results in around 12 to 15 pieces of Lokum, so you can't over-indulge.. and might I also suggest that it is a wonderful gift, placed in a tin and wrapped...
2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup of cornflour
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
2 teaspoons rose water
20 gms shelled pistachios, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon juice of fruit in season for colouring eg cherries, blood plums
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
Place 2 cups caster sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in pan. Stir to dissolve, then brush the sides down with water to get rid of any sugar crystals. Bring to a steady boil until the toffee reaches softball stage. (On my thermometer softball is 116 degrees celsius, but I had to cook it till it was close to hard ball on the thermometer for it to act as a soft ball in my bowl of cold water.... more later on confectionery..)
At the same time, place 1/2 cup corn flour and cream of tartar in small saucepan and gradually add 1 1/2 cups of water, stirring constantly. Place over a medium heat and stir till the mixture is thick. (I like a spoon whisk for this.)
Pour the toffee into the cornflour mixutre, stirring constantly. Place on a lower heat (simmer mat is good) and cook for at least 1 hour,15 minutes... until the mixture is golden. (I add my teaspoon of red juice towards the end of this stage.)
You may want to check the consistency of the mixture by placing a small amount in a bowl of cold water.
Mix through rosewater and pistachios.
Line a small or square rectangular pan with plastic film (oil first) and pour in mixture. Cover and leave in fridge overnight.
Mixture the 2 tablespoons of cornflour with icing sugar and place on a cutting board. Tip out mixture and cut into 3cm squares and toss in icing sugar mixture
Keep in tin or box, not an air-tight container.
For the gluten intolerants: make sure you use the corn based cornflour (as opposed to the wheat based variety) and check your icing sugar (there is a gluten free one available.)