When the traditional Turkish Delight recipe first appeared, it's impossible to know. Turkish Delight's date of origin is unknown, but it 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 recipes below, you can make your own Turkish Delight candy.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 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 when shopping in the Suq. Jerusalem's historic marketplace has extremely narrow streets bursting 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 in English:
"Hey! Don't buy off him! Come over here and let me rip you off."
Thanks to these traditional Turkish Delight recipes you
can make the delicious Middle East confection for your family to enjoy. Homemade
Turkish Delight squares packaged in a decorative container make a great
candy gift suitable for giving on any occasion.