Like the Turkish coffee or Raki, “Turkish delight” is one of the original delicacies of Turkey. The candy, which dates back to the time of the Ottoman sultans, is one of the oldest sweets in the world. Turkish delight has already made its way into the famous novel series “The Chronicles of Narnia”. The White Witch had offered Edmun Pevensie a “magical” Turkish delight which had him “addicted”.
ORIGINS OF TURKISH DELIGHT
The Turkish word for Turkish delight is “Lokum”. The word “lokum” comes from the Turkish term for “bite-size”. And this is exactly what applies to the sweet: it is usually served in bite-sized cubes. But it should not be too much – at least not if you value a slim waist line.
THE SIGHT OF THE COLORFUL LOKUM IS HARD TO RESIST.
The sweet confectionery is one of Turkey’s most popular delicacies. The irresistible taste of Lokum is made of the numerous ingredients. The confectionery mass is made up with pistachios, almonds, nuts, grated coconut or dried fruits and sugar. There is also a slightly different variations of the Turkish delight where syrup and gelling sugar are not used but some delicious nougat forms the base. The sweet nougat rolls are also filled with dried fruits or nuts as desired.
SYRUP AS A BASIS FOR THE CANDY
The basis for classic Turkish delight is sugar. This is processed with gelled wheat starch to a syrup, which is often refined with pistachio resin. After a few hours of cooking, the syrup stops until it is firm. Incidentally, the exact cooking time is the very high art of production. If the syrup is too short, it becomes too sticky – if it boils too long, it becomes too firm and tough. The solid mass now cut into cubes – finished is the popular candy from Turkey. At least almost, because Lokum is quite sticky in this condition. Rolled over in powdered sugar or grated coconut, this problem has settled quickly.
When Turkish delight was first produced, the confectioners used to use honey and grape molasses as the sweetener and mix it with flour, water and other spices to produce sweets, since pure sugar was not yet available. Only after sugar was introduced by the European merchants in the late eighteenth century was honey replaced by it.
TURKISH DELIGHT IS JOKINGLY REFERRED TO AS “TURKISH VIAGRA”
The Turkish delight, which has been produced for centuries, was invented during the time of the Ottoman Empire in the late 17th century. One day, the Ottoman sultan asked his pastry chef (Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir) to create a candy that would help him gain more virility and pamper all the ladies in his harem. Although this story is often told to amuse the tourists, a more realistic version that is taught in Turkey features the Ottoman King asking the same pastry chef to come up with a candy that would not break his weakened tooth after losing a tooth trying to eat a hard candy!
TURKISH DELIGHT IS A PERFECT MATCH FOR TURKISH COFFEE
The sweet seduction of “Turkish delight” offers gourmets an incomparable experience. Of course, the sweet passion brings with it all sorts of dangers. In between times something sweet is good for the nerves, however you should still know its limits. Therefore, one must rather enjoy a piece of Turkish delight while having contrasting strong coffee and have the Turkish delight pieces melt on the tongue. With this formula, nothing is comparable to the sweetness and the lasting taste of Turkish delight.