When this traditional homemade Turkish Delight recipe was first invented it's impossible to know. Turkish Delight's date of origin is unknown.
The storied confection has long been an inseparable part of Turkish tradition and symbolized the exotic, delicious confections of the Middle East.
It was in 1994, while exploring the Suq (market) in the old Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, that I first purchased some authentic Turkish Delight from a friendly Arab confectioner.
The generous-sized squares of pastel-colored, jelly-like candy were generously coated in finely powdered sugar and carefully hand-wrapped in white tissue paper.
The Turkish candy tasted deliciously sweet and was quite unlike anything you can buy in North American stores. Both in texture and in taste, it was extraordinary and truly wonderful.
Now, thanks to the old fashioned candy recipe below, you can make your own Turkish Delight candy anytime.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (1920s)
8 tablespoons granulated gelatin, 1/2 cup cold water, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 orange (rind and juice), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, nuts or shredded coconut or candied fruit — optional.
Soften gelatin in cold water. Make a syrup of sugar and water; when boiling add gelatin; boil gently 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Add fruit juices; strain. Add candied fruit, nuts or shredded coconut. Pour into a pan moistened with cold water.
When firm cut in squares using a knife dipped in hot water. Roll in confectioners' sugar or fine fruit sugar.
1 pound loaf sugar, 1/4 ounce gelatin, 1 cup water, juice 1 lemon, 6 drops cochineal (red food coloring).
Soak the gelatin in half the water for 3 hours. Boil the sugar in remainder of the water for 5 minutes. Pour over the gelatin, add lemon juice, and coloring, and stir well.
Pour into a wetted, shallow dish, and when cold, cut into squares and roll in confectioners' sugar.
My wife and I often chuckle over a humorous incident that occurred in Jerusalem while touring the Suq. The historic Arab marketplace has extremely narrow streets lined with all manners of tiny shops. It's packed with people and bustling with activity.
While we had stood examining the tempting Turkish delight offered by an Arab confectionery merchant, an over aggressive vendor from a nearby shop shouted at us from across the street in English:
"Hey! Don't buy off him! Come over here and let me rip you off." Too funny!
Thanks to the homemade Turkish Delight recipes you can make the traditional Middle East confection for your family to enjoy.
And, Turkish Delight squares packaged in a decorative container make a great candy gift suitable for gift giving on any occasion.