Christmas recipe: Turkish delight

Turkish delight

Turkish delight - Credit: Lean Timms

Stroud writer Kate Young’s debut cookbook The Little Library Year was published to great acclaim last year, and now she’s back with her follow-up, The Little Library Christmas, a collection of 50 festive recipes

During Edmund’s first visit to Narnia he finds himself wrapped in furs on the White Witch’s sleigh. At this point in the story, of course, it is still always winter, but never Christmas. Yet, in spite of this, that image of the snow and the sleigh means that the squidgy pink squares of Turkish delight that she plies him with make most sense to me as a festive treat. To abandon your siblings in hopes of a kingship takes something pretty memorable; happily, Turkish delight delivers.

Makes around 30 squares

450g/2¼ cups granulated sugar

1tbsp lemon juice

475ml/2 cups water

90g/¾ cup corn.our/cornstarch

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½tsp cream of tartar

1tbsp rosewater

Pink food colouring (ideally paste)

To decorate

40g/2 cup corn.our/cornstarch

40g/¼ cup icing/confectioners’ sugar

Edible glitter (optional)


Small, straight-sided baking pan (mine is 20x12cm/8x4¾in)


1. Place the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan with 175ml/¾ cup of the water. Put the pan over a medium-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Once the liquid is clear, stop stirring and heat until the sugar syrup reaches 1186C/2456F (around 15 minutes).

2. Line the baking pan with plastic wrap, smoothing the base and sides as much as possible. Sift the corn.our and cream of tartar into a saucepan, along with the remaining 300ml/1¼ cups of water. Place over a low heat and stir continuously. The mixture will start to thicken. Keep cooking it until it resembles hair gel – thick and gloopy.

3. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup. Continue to stir over a low heat for around an hour. The mixture will look strange (and separated) at first, but it will come together. When it’s done, it will have taken on a golden tinge and be very thick and difficult to stir. I know this is a long time to keep stirring, but I !nd it soothing – it’s something you can do with a Christmas film playing.

4. Remove from the heat and beat in the rosewater and food colouring. Scoop the Turkish delight into the lined baking pan – this will be messy. Smooth the top with a wet spatula and push down. Cover with a tea towel and allow it to set overnight in a cool room.

5. The next day, turn the Turkish delight out of the pan and peel off the plastic wrap. Wet a knife with hot water and slice into squares. To decorate, sift the corn:our and icing sugar into a shallow bowl (along with the edible glitter if you’re using it). Drop the squares into the bowl and toss to coat each piece. Gift it as soon as you can after this (or add a little extra corn:our to the box before you do), as the damp squares of Turkish delight will eventually soak up the powder. Store in a cool, dry place, with greaseproof/wax paper between the layers.

This recipe is taken from The Little Library Christmas, by Stroud writer, Kate Young. It’s published by Head of Zeus, £15 paperback/£10 ebook.

SEE ALSO: Buckwheat blinis for breakfast.

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