Turkish Delight

Full credit for this (ahem) delightful recipe goes to Felicity Cloake, the excellent columnist from The Guardian. Probably not my best plan to make it on the hottest day of the year, but hey, we had friends coming for dinner in the sunshine, and these fit the bill precisely. It might not be exactly like the real thing, but its not bad at all – my father’s bff from childhood is part of the Cemiloglu family who have run the family business Cemilzade in Istanbul since 1883 so my family know a thing or two about Turkish delight, and I’d happily eat this often.


500g granulated sugar

125g cornflour, plus 2 tbsp extra for dusting

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp rose water

A few drops of pink food colouring

2 tbsp icing sugar

Optional mix 200g chopped almonds & pistachios


  1. Grease a 9″ square shallow tin.
  2. Add the sugar and cream of tartar to 600ml water in a large heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Put the cornflour into a separate pan with 200ml water and slowly heat, whisking until it thickens.
  4. Pour/scrape into the sugar solution, whisking all the time.
  5. Swap over to a wooden spoon, increase the heat to bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and KEEP STIRRING.
  6. Seriously, keep stirring for at least 50 (fifty) minutes, by which time it will resemble wallpaper paste.
  7. To test if it,s ready, grab a small bowl of cold water and a teaspoon. Take a spoonful of the mix, pop it into the cold water to cool briefly, then squidge between your fingers – if it holds a firm squishy lump, move onto the next step. If not, keep stirring for another few minutes and try again.
  8. Stir in the flavouring, colouring, and nuts if using.
  9. Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top and leave to cool (it’ll thicken up much much more).
  10. When cool, cut into cubes and toss in the cornflour + icing sugar mixed together.

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