the lion, the witch and the Turkish Delight

20 January 2010

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‘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. … At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rude to speak with one’s mouth full, but soon he forgot about this and thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat.’

All the snow recently put me in mind of Narnia and the stories I so loved in childhood. Naturally, this ultimately led to food-related thoughts: the White Witch and the Turkish Delight with which she entices Edmund to betray his siblings.

I’m hoping we won’t have to endure a Hundred-Year Winter (even if some days lately it feels like it), but if we do, at least we can sweeten our days with this.

Turkish Delight, adapted from

675g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
75g cornflour
30g powdered gelatine
25g cornflour + 25g icing sugar, for dusting
3-4 tablespoons rose water
pink food colouring

Put the caster sugar into a heavy-based saucepan with 300ml of cold water and the lemon juice. Mix the 75g of cornflour with 200ml of cold water until it is smooth and add to the sugar mixture. Sprinkle the gelatine over and bring everything to the boil over a medium heat; simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Beware – it doesn’t smell great because of the gelatine…vegetarians may find it particularly offensive.

Meanwhile, line a tin (I used a 20 x 20cm) with clingfilm. Sift the 25g of cornflour with the icing sugar and use a couple of spoonfuls to dust the base and sides of the lined tin; set the rest aside for use later.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the rosewater and a few dabs (if using gel paste) or drops (if using liquid) of colouring until it is suitably pink, and pour into the prepared tin. Leave to set in a cool place (but not the fridge) for at least 12 hours.

Turn the Turkish Delight out on to a board that has been dusted with some of the cornflour and icing sugar mixture and gently remove the clingfilm. Cut into cubes with a large, sharp knife and coat each cube in the cornflour-icing sugar mixture. Eat immediately or store – doused in icing sugar – in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Makes 75-100 cubes (mine were around 1cm³).

‘… there’s nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food.’

Quotes taken from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis
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