Everything You Need To Know About Turkish Delight
In this post, we’ve done our best to provide you with everything you need to know about the delicious sweet treat that is Turkish delight. We’ve covered it all, including where Turkish delight comes from, how it’s made, where to buy it, and even how best to store it. So whether you’re trying to find high-quality Turkish delight online or are thinking about making some yourself at home, then read on.
What Is Turkish Delight?
Before we jump into the specifics, let’s go back to basics and take a look at what Turkish delight actually is. Turkish delight is a gel-based dessert and is traditionally made using cornflour and sugar. Over the years, Turkish delight has been recreated and transformed into many different shapes, sizes, and flavors, but one thing that all Turkish delight has in common is its gel base.
Where Does Turkish Delight Come From?
Turkish delight has an extremely long and rich history and dates back many centuries to the Ottoman Empire. As its name suggests, Turkish delight was invented in Turkey, specifically Kastamonu, in the mountains of Anatolia. There are a number of different stories about how Turkish delight was invented but it is generally agreed that Turkish delight was created by a confectioner named Bekir Effendi. Bekir owned a small sweet shop in Kastamonu, in which he sold all manner of delicious confectionery, including his own unique recipe, Turkish delight. As the story goes, Bekir’s Turkish delight was so delicious that in no time at all, it became a firm favorite amongst the royal court and socialites. Centuries later, travelers transported Turkish delight across the sea to Europe, where it too became a firm favorite amongst nobles and the elite in Victorian England; earning itself a reputation as a luxury sweet.
There are several other stories about the origin of Turkish delight, the most popular being that it was actually invented by the Sultan’s cooks to help him woo one of his mistresses. We can’t say for sure how Turkish delight came to be, but we are glad that it did.
Is Lokum Another Name For Turkish Delight?
Because Turkish delight has its origins in Turkey, it’s unsurprising that it has a couple of other familiar names, including Lokum. Lokum is the Turkish name for Turkish delight. It has its origins in the Arabic word, al-lukum, which can be loosely translated to mean morsel or mouthful. You might also see Turkish delight referred to as Rahat-ul hulküm, which means ‘throat comfort’. In most of the western world, you’ll only see Turkish delight sold as, Turkish delight, but if you were buying from a Turkish shop, or restaurant then don’t be surprised if it is labeled as Lokum.
How Is Turkish Delight Traditionally Made?
Making traditional Turkish delight is a time-consuming process that involves creating a sugar syrup and gently boiling it with cornstarch over low heat. Some traditional Turkish delight recipes require that this mixture be boiled for several hours in order to achieve the right consistency. Today, a lot of Turkish delight is made in factories; however, there are still people making traditional Turkish delight by hand. If you’re looking to enjoy traditional Turkish delight, then the key thing to look out for is whether it has been made with cornflour or whether it has been thickened with gelatine. Gelatine-based Turkish delight is a lot easier to make but is not true to the traditional recipe.
Is Turkish Delight Good For You?
No matter which way you look at it, Turkish delight isn’t going to be the healthiest of foods - after all, it’s primarily sugar! There’s a reason why the Turkish name for Turkish delight is lokum, which can be translated to a morsel of a mouthful. It’s because Turkish delight is intended to be consumed in small quantities, usually as a single mouthful. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, then we recommend you try an alternative sweet treat, such as dried fruit.
Is There Any Nutritional Value To Turkish Delight?
The nutritional value of Turkish delight can vary significantly depending on the type of Turkish delight you choose. Flavored cubes of Turkish delight jelly are the least nourishing as they tend to contain mostly carbohydrates. On the other hand, luxurious varieties of Turkish delight are often filled with nuts and dried fruit. These luxury varieties of Turkish delight, therefore, have more nutritional value. A Turkish delight packed with pistachios may still be high in sugar, but it also provides healthy fats and protein. If you’re trying to make your Turkish delight more nutritious, then stick to luxury jellies with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit inside.
How To Enjoy Turkish Delight
The best way to enjoy Turkish delight is by only eating a small amount of it at a time. Although Turkish delight is delicious, it isn’t the healthiest of treats, and consuming too much of it in one go can cause a sugar rush. Turkish delight is often pre-cut into perfectly portioned pieces, so stick to one piece at a time and savor the flavor by allowing the sumptuously soft jelly to dissolve and melt on your tongue gently. Sweet Turkish delight pieces make the perfect after-dinner treat and are also the ideal partner to a strong Turkish coffee.
Is It Possible To Make A Healthy Turkish Delight?
Everything is healthy in moderation, but if you’re diabetic or on a diet, then we understand that you might be trying to find a healthier version of Turkish delight. Unfortunately, the core ingredients in authentic Turkish delight are quite hard to substitute, and so healthier versions of Turkish delight are often very different from the real thing and tend to focus on the flavor of Turkish delight rather than the texture. This healthier Turkish delight-inspired recipe uses cream cheese, sweetener, and rose water to recreate the familiar flavor of rose Turkish delight. Other recipes use gelatine and sweetener to create a sugar-free jelly. If you love real, authentic Turkish delight, then limiting your portion size is the best way to ensure that you can still enjoy your favorite treat.
Is Turkish Delight Suitable For Vegans?
Traditional Turkish delight is one of the few candies and desserts whose original recipe is naturally plant-based and suitable for vegans. Because traditional Turkish delight jelly is thickened using cornflour and not gelatine, it contains no animal products. So long as it is flavored with a vegan flavoring, this makes traditional Turkish delight 100% vegan. The only time that a traditional Turkish delight may not be suitable for vegans is if it has been dipped in chocolate containing milk or if it has been flavored using honey or another ingredient of animal origin. Here at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts, all of our Turkish delights are made in the traditional way and are 100% dairy-free and vegan. If you’re buying Turkish delight from another store or supplier, then always check the ingredients list and keep an eye out for the use of gelatine.
Is The Food Coloring In Turkish Delight Vegan?
This one always catches a few people out, but one common kind of red food coloring, E120, also known as red 4, is not vegan. This specific food coloring is created using the shells of an insect called cochineal and so shouldn’t be used in vegan products. Although the vast majority of natural food colorings contain no animal products, some vegans still choose to avoid them due to how they were tested.
Is Cream Of Tartar Vegan?
Despite its name, cream of tartar doesn’t contain cream or dairy - it’s a stabilizer. In Turkish delight, a small amount of cream of tartar is used to prevent the sugar from crystalizing, which helps to give Turkish delight its smooth jelly texture. Cream of tartar is made as a byproduct during the wine-making process, which means that although, as an ingredient itself it is vegan, some vegans still choose to avoid it as they can’t be certain that it wasn’t the byproduct of a wine that was made using an animal-based fining agent. At the end of the day, most vegans are happy to consume products containing cream of tartar, but some prefer only to eat cream of tartar that was made as a byproduct of vegan wines.
Is Turkish Delight Gluten-Free?
One of the most-searched-for questions about Turkish delight is whether it is gluten-free. Here at Ayoub’s, we take food allergies and intolerances very seriously and know how important it is that foods have clear and concise allergen labeling. When it comes to traditional Turkish delight, at first glance, the recipe is gluten-free, but this doesn’t necessarily make Turkish delight suitable for coeliacs or those with severe gluten sensitivity - here’s why.
Cross-Contamination From The Cornflour
Cornflour is made from corn, which is naturally gluten-free; however, most corn flour is processed with or near to other gluten-containing cereals. For people with coeliac disease or a severe gluten allergy, even the smallest amount of gluten from cross-contamination is enough to cause a reaction. For this reason, people with severe gluten-allergies or coeliac disease tend to stick to food items that are labeled as gluten-free or which carry a coeliac-friendly accreditation. If you only have a mild gluten sensitivity, then cross-contamination isn’t usually enough to cause a reaction.
Gluten-Containing Food Colorings
Somehow, gluten finds its way into everything! Most liquid food colorings are gluten-free, but those that are in powder or gel form can contain gluten. If a manufacturer has used a gluten-containing food coloring, then this will be listed on the ingredients list, and so this isn’t so much of a problem when buying Turkish delight from the store. If you’re making Turkish delight at home, then keep a close eye on which food colorings you use.
Cross Contamination During Manufacture Or When On Sale
Finally, even a Turkish delight that is made using coeliac-approved cornflour can become contaminated if it is not treated correctly during manufacture and sale. Once again, this is mostly a problem for individuals with severe gluten allergies and is the reason why many coeliac products are individually wrapped.
So Is Turkish Delight Gluten-Free?
As you can see, the answer to this question is a lot more complicated than a simple yes or no. Traditional Turkish delight is naturally gluten-free but may not be gluten-free enough if you suffer from a severe allergy or coeliac disease. If you need your Turkish delight to be 100% gluten-free and coeliac friendly, then be sure to speak with the retailer beforehand.
How To Make Turkish Delight At Home
One way to ensure that your Turkish delight is coeliac friendly is to make it yourself at home. The traditional way to make Turkish delight involves slowly heating cornflour and sugar syrup together before adding food coloring and flavorings and then allowing it to set. We’ve chosen a relatively simple recipe that we hope will encourage you to try and make your own Turkish delight - don’t be put off that it’s quite long; it will be worth it in the end. To keep things traditional, we’ve used rose-water as our flavoring, but you could make your Turkish delight any flavor that you want.
How To Make Turkish Delight
For the syrup
- 1.5 cups (300g) white sugar
- 250ml of water
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
For the cornflour mix
- ½ cup (68g) of cornflour
- 2tsp cream of tartar
- 250ml water
- 1tsp of rose water
- 1 drop of red food coloring
- 2tbsp of cornflour
- 4tbsp of powdered sugar
- To make your own Turkish delight, start by lining a suitable mold. We suggest using a deep baking tray or oven-safe dish, but a silicone mold would also work. To stop your Turkish delight from sticking, line your mold with baking parchment or plastic wrap and then oil it using vegetable oil.
- Once your mold is ready, it’s time to make your sugar syrup. Do this by adding the sugar, lemon juice, and water to a saucepan and heating it together over medium-high heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Keep stirring while the sugar dissolves.
- Once all of the sugar granules are dissolved, gently simmer your syrup for 10-15 minutes until it reaches the softball stage. If you have a candy thermometer, then stop heating the mixture at 240F.
- Once you have reached the softball stage, take your syrup off the heat and set it to one side.
Now it’s time to create your cornflour paste.
- In a separate saucepan, combine your cornflour and cream of tartar with 250ml of room temperature water and heat together over medium-low heat. Try to add the water slowly and whisk the mixture constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Keep whisking your mixture until it forms a thick paste.
- At this stage, grab your sugar syrup and slowly start adding to your cornflour paste. Add a little syrup at a time, constantly whisking until all of the syrup has been added.
- Cook your Turkish delight mixture for 45 minutes to an hour over low heat, stirring regularly. You’ll know when your mix is done because it will turn a golden color.
- Once golden, turn off the heat and add in a few drops of your chosen food coloring and flavoring. Mix well to combine.
- It’s finally time to pour your Turkish delight gel into your mold. Press it down firmly to fill all the corners and then store it in a cool, dry place for four hours to firm up.After four hours or so, your Turkish delight should be ready to turn out and coat. Generously dust your work surface with the powdered sugar and cornflour, and then turn out your mold.
- Cover the entire block with your coating and then cut into cubes. Give each cube another dust with your coating before storing.
- To help prevent your Turkish delight from sweating, eat them while they are fresh and don’t store them in a plastic container. Use sheets of greaseproof to separate each layer of Turkish delight from the next.
12 Different Flavors Of Turkish Delight That You Could Try
Although rose is by far the most popular flavor of Turkish delight, it isn’t to everyone's taste. If you don’t like the flavor of rose water, then here are 12 alternative flavors you may want to try when making your own Turkish delight. You can buy most of these flavorings easily online in liquid form. If you’re making a different flavor of Turkish delight, you may also want to color it to match - try to pick a color that fits your flavoring.
Turkish delight is naturally very sweet, which is why a zingy citrus flavor, such as lemon, pairs perfectly with it. When it comes to the more traditional Turkish delight flavors, lemon is often one of the less sweet varieties, making it perfect for those people who find rose Turkish delight too sweet. Lemon Turkish delight is usually a faint yellow color, so grab yourself some yellow food coloring when making this flavor.
Lime is also an extremely popular citrus flavor of Turkish delight. If you like citrus-flavored candy, then lime is one of the flavors that you simply must try! To help you distinguish between your lemon and your lime-flavored Turkish delight, dye your lime delights a pale green color. If you want to add in even more lime-flavor, you can also add some grated lime-zest to your Turkish delight mix.
Cherry is the perfect floral yet fruity alternative to rose-flavored delight. It can be subtle, or it can be punchy, and it goes down well with almost everyone! Give it a pink-red hue by using some pink or red food coloring, and if you’re really out to impress, then you could even make your icing sugar pink to match!
For fans of mint candy, mint-flavored Turkish delight is a must-try! Just one or two drops of mint essence are enough to give Turkish delight a delicious fresh minty flavor that will cleanse your palette and satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal. Mint Turkish delight can be left uncolored but looks best with just a dash of green food coloring. If you’re making mint-flavored Turkish delight as a gift, then try garnishing your pieces with crystalized mint leaves.
For the perfect Fall flavored Turkish delight, look no further than classic cinnamon. A few drops of cinnamon essence will transform your Turkish delight into the perfect autumn treat. Add a dash of yellow or brown food coloring and add some cinnamon powder to your coating sugar!
Saffron and Safflower
If you’re looking to impress someone with an unusual flavor, then saffron or safflower Turkish delight is the one for you. Subtle, earthy, and luxurious, saffron and safflower Turkish delights always look stunning in the box, thanks to their vivid orange hue.
For a tropical party in your mouth, swap out more traditional flavors for yummy coconut. Roll your Turkish delight pieces in desiccated coconut for some extra coconut flavor and if you’re a fan of Bounty chocolate bars, then try dipping your Turkish delight pieces in some melted chocolate!
Bergamot & Orange Blossom
Bergamot and orange blossom are a flavor match made in heaven. Although they may sound more like perfumes than a Turkish delight flavor, trust us when we say they're delicious. Add a dash of orange food coloring to your mix and grate over some fresh orange zest as a garnish.
Lavender Turkish delight might just be the most beautiful Turkish delight ever! Floral and herbaceous, add a few dashes of lavender oil and a drop of purple food coloring for a picture-perfect purple set of Turkish delight. For that extra wow-factor, sprinkle some dry lavender flowers over your Turkish delight pieces.
Apple-flavored Turkish delight may not look as good as lavender or rose, but it tastes fantastic and is a firm favorite with kids and adults alike. At Ayoub’s, we’ve taken simple Apple-flavored Turkish delight to the next level by combining it with a deliciously creamy filling to create our Apple rolls. If you’re making apple-flavored delight at home, then split your batch into two and add red coloring to one and green to the other to give yourself red and green apples!
When it comes to classic flavors that everyone can enjoy, you can’t go wrong with vanilla. Vanilla flavored Turkish delight is subtle and sweet, making it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Vanilla flavored Turkish delight can be left uncolored.
Lastly, for an indulgent flavor of Turkish delight that looks as good as it tastes, then you have to try pistachio. We have our own double sultan pistachio delight, but if you want to try and make some yourself at home, then you could use pistachio flavoring or fresh pistachios. We love the idea of a pastel green pistachio delight, studded with beautiful pistachio nuts.
How To Store Fresh Turkish Delight
So you’ve made your own Turkish delight, but you can’t eat it all in one go. So how do you store it? Let us help.
Turkish delight can be fussy to store, often turning into a puddle of sticky syrup if it becomes moist or warm. Here are our top tips to help you keep your Turkish delight fresh for another day.
Keep Your Delight At A Consistent Temperature
Turkish delight hates temperature changes. Allowing it to get too hot or too cold can cause it to sweat and melt. For this reason, it’s recommended to store fresh Turkish delight somewhere that it will stay at roughly the same temperature. In most homes, the pantry or a kitchen cupboard will do the trick.
Allow Fresh Turkish Delight To Dry At Room Temperature Before Dusting
If your Turkish delight is still moist at all, then when you add its sugar and cornflour dusting, it will simply absorb it and turn it into a syrup. Once Turkish delight starts to sweat, it’s a slippery slope. To stop this from happening, you might want to leave your Turkish delight on a wire rack at room temperature for 24 hours before you apply its final dusting. This will allow the outside of the Turkish delight to dry and become a crust.
Use Baking Parchment To Stop Your Turkish Delight Sticking To Itself
Even after a generous coating of sugar, Turkish delight has a habit of sticking to itself. To stop your delights from becoming one big delight again, use strips of baking parchment to separate each piece inside your storage container. If you’re packaging Turkish delight as a gift, then a fancier alternative is to use confectionery wrappers, like those used to hold chocolates.
Don’t Store Your Turkish Delight In The Fridge
Unless you live in a sweltering country, then we wouldn’t recommend storing your Turkish delight in the fridge. Refrigerators tend to draw the moisture out of food which could cause your Turkish delight to become wet. Instead of keeping your delight in the fridge, store it in a cool place like the cupboard.
Turkish Delight Is Best Eaten Fresh
Finally, the easiest way to keep your delight fresh is to devour it! If you can’t get through your batch of delight in a few days, then consider gifting some to a friend or family member. Sharing is caring, after all!
Where To Buy The Best Turkish Delight In Canada, Online
Let’s face it, although making your own Turkish delight is incredibly rewarding, it does take a lot of time, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you imagined it would. If you don’t want the fuss of making your own delight and would instead prefer to leave that to the professionals, then the good news is that you can buy genuine Turkish delight online and from the comfort of your computer. Here are a few of the best places to find delicious and authentic Turkish delight in Canada.
In the last few years, Amazon has taken off as one of the leading online marketplaces for exotic foods, and you really can’t deny the fact that they have hundreds of Turkish delight products to choose from. Although there is most definitely quality and authentic Turkish delight on Amazon, there is also a lot of poor Turkish delight. If you’re buying Turkish delight from Amazon, then we suggest paying close attention to the listing details, including the ingredients list and where the product was made. Another easy way to check the quality of online Turkish delight is by looking at customer reviews. Buying an Amazon product without any reviews is a risk while buying one with plenty of positive customer feedback helps to ensure that you’ll have a similar experience.
Another great place to find authentic Turkish delight is at the Turkish Bazaar. Turkish Bazaar stocks a great variety of simple Turkish delight cubes, including traditional flavors like rose and lemon and more unique flavors like hazelnut. If you’ve never tried Turkish delight before and have no idea what flavors you like, they also sell mixed boxes filled with a selection of flavors.
Ayoub’s Dried Fruit And Nuts
Lastly, we couldn’t complete this lineup without mentioning the Turkish delight that we sell here, at Ayoub’s. We’ve made it as easy for you as possible to find high-quality and authentic Turkish delight because we only sell the very best. All of our real, authentic delights are sourced directly from Turkey Istanbul, guaranteeing you a taste of the real deal. Although our classic Turkish delight cubes are a universal hit, what sets us apart from most other retailers is that we sell a number of more premium delights, including our tempting pomegranate pistachio and rose petal Turkish delight, our indulgent double sultan pistachio delight, and our showstopping pomegranate pistachio and safflower delight, which is decorated with real safflowers. Whether you’ve never tried Turkish delight before or are quite the connoisseur, we have something that you’ll enjoy.
Why You Must Try Turkish Delight From Ayoub’s
Still not convinced? Here are four reasons to buy Turkish delight from us at Ayoub’s.
Our Turkish Delight Comes From Istanbul
The only way to guarantee real, authentic Turkish delight is to buy it from the birthplace of Turkish delight itself, Turkey. Even then, not all confectioners in Turkey are created equal. We source our delicious Turkish delight from a small supplier in Istanbul who is as committed to creating high-quality Turkish delight as we are to roasting high-quality nuts. Our Turkish delight may not be the cheapest on the internet, but when it comes to Turkish delight, you get what you pay for. Making delicious, authentic Turkish delight is a labor of love and a lot of time and effort goes into each batch. We think that this is reflected in its taste.
Our Turkish Delight Is Made Using An Authentic Recipe
If you took the time to read the recipe for Turkish delight listed above, then you’ll know that making Turkish delight isn’t exactly easy. It’s a painstakingly slow process. This has led many modern factories to use gelatine in place of traditional cornflour. Gelatine-based Turkish delight may be easier for factories to make, but it isn’t authentic and it’s also no longer vegan. At Ayoub’s, all of our delights are made in the traditional way using cornflour, cream of tartar, and sugar, to create a melt-in-the-mouth jelly - way it should be.
We Offer More Than Just Rose Jellies
While we love simple rose-flavored Turkish delight, we also believe that Turkish delight can be so much more. For this reason, we stock a selection of more luxury delights, including our pomegranate pistachio and safflower delight, which is topped with real safflowers, our double sultan pistachio delight, which is jam-packed with crunchy pistachios, and our pomegranate pistachio and rose petal delight, which is as pretty as a picture and adorned with real rose petals. If you’re looking to try something new, then we’ve got you covered.
We Offer Free Canada Delivery
Of course, there’s no point shopping online if you can’t get your treats delivered to your door! This is why we offer free shipping across Canada and also to the United States. While you’re browsing our tempting range of delicious delights, check out our extensive range of hand-roasted nuts, sensational seeds, and other snacks too.
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