This Turkish Delight recipe is a traditional version of the classic Middle Eastern sweet. The resulting candy is delicately chewy and scented with rosewater.
Rosewater can be found at Middle Eastern markets and at some well-stocked supermarkets. There is really no substitute for this distinctive flavor, but if you cannot find it you can use another flavored extract like lemon, mint, or any number of floral flavors.
1. Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside for now.
2. Place the sugar, lemon juice, and 1.5 cups of the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, and insert a candy thermometer.
3. Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees on the candy thermometer.
4. When the sugar syrup is around 225 degrees, begin to get the rest of the candy ingredients prepared. Place the remaining 3 cups of water in another, slightly larger, saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the starch dissolves and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.
5. Once the sugar syrup is at 240 degrees, remove it from the heat. Slowly, carefully, pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking until it is fully incorporated.
6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking it every 8-10 minutes, for about an hour, until the candy has turned a light golden-yellow color and is very thick and gluey.
7. After an hour, remove from the heat and stir in the food coloring and the rosewater. Pour the candy into the prepared pan and allow it to set, uncovered, overnight.
8. The next day, remove the candy from the pan using the foil as handles. Dust your work station with the powdered sugar, and flip the candy onto the powdered sugar. Remove the foil from the back and dust the top with the sugar. Use an oiled chef’s knife to cut the Turkish Delight into small squares. Dust each side of the square with powdered sugar to prevent stickiness.
9. Turkish Delight is best soon after it is made. It doesn’t keep very well, but if you want to try keeping it, store it in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers, and dust the sides with powdered sugar again before serving.