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Turkish Delight – Lokum

We got a package from my parents in Turkey recently – a happy sight!-. They love spoiling us (especially the grandchildren!) and the package was full of treats; Turkish delights, pistachio nuts, Turkish coffee and many more. The Turkish delight is a special treat for my children and the real thing is not too sweet but fragrant, moist and full of flavor.

Prior to the arrival of refined sugar in the late 18th century, the Ottomans made a crude version of Turkish Delight using honey or pekmez, a concentrated grape syrup and wheat flour. Haci Bekir, a confectioner of the time, became famous due to his ingenious use of white sugar and corn starch and was summoned to Topkapi Palace to pioneer the development of what is today one of Turkey’s hallmarks. Special recipes for variations of Turkish Delight can be found in all regions of Turkey. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds and desiccated coconut are incorporated into the luscious mouthfuls of fragrant jelly. Sakiz (mastic gum) another ingredient revered by the Sultans, can be used to create a chewier version and is a must if you are preparing rolled up versions of lokum. This recipe is for sade – plain lokum, delicately flavored with fragrant rose water. However, you may wish to add shelled and chopped nuts of your choice – hazelnuts, pistachio nuts or walnuts work extremely well. I strongly suggest making it a day before serving, so that the mixture can settle down well.

My late mother-in-law, dear Penny Mum, absolutely loved Turkish Delight, and this is for her memory.

Serves 6 – 8
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 20 minutes

450 gr / 1 lb fine white sugar
470 ml / 1 pint/ 2 cups water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons rose water
6 tablespoons corn flour / cornstarch
sifted icing sugar / confectioners sugar for dusting

Line a shallow tray or pan (8in square) with a piece of muslin and dust with a little corn flour. Combine the rose water and corn flour to make a smooth paste and set a side.

In a pan combine sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, and over a medium heat, stir constantly, allowing the sugar to dissolve and taking care the mixture doesn’t burn.

Add a little of the hot sugar syrup to the rose water and corn flour and mix thoroughly. Remove the pan of sugar syrup from the heat, add the rose water and corn flour mix and whisk thoroughly.

Return to a medium heat, continue to stir until the mixture takes on a clearer appearance and thickens to a jelly type consistency. Remove from the heat; at this point add chopped nuts of your choice (optional).

Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and allow to cool and set, preferably overnight.
Turn out the lokum onto a work surface well dusted with icing sugar. Remove the muslin, cut into squares, dust generously with more icing sugar and serve.

12 Responses to Turkish Delight – Lokum

  1. Anonymous October 29, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I tried this recipe and it did thicken to a jelly type consistency but it did not set. Is there an ideal temperature that this recipe needs to reach in order to set. Could you please post photos detailing each step. I love Turkish Delight and I have had nothing but trouble making it as it is not the easiest of recipes. I am dying to master this before Christmas. Please help.


  2. Anonymous October 31, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Dear Ozlem,

    I would be grateful if you can please post a step by step tutorial on making Turkish delight which includes photos detailing each stage of cooking. I tried this recipe and it didn't set after cooking it for 20 mins. It did thicken up into a jelly type consistency but it didn't set and remained a thick wet sticky gooooo. Is there a way of testing the mix to tel if it is ready before pouring it out to set? Please help pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!


  3. Anonymous October 31, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    What is the exact weight of six tbsp cornstarch in terms of grams and onces. This didn't work for me an set to soft and I had to throw it away


  4. Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Useless recipe!! didn't work for me!!

  5. jeanne November 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    all you whiners need to make the recipe ten times before you cry how it doesn't work. it's your own cooking sense that isn't working.

  6. Jamie March 11, 2017 at 12:57 am #

    It is meant to be sticky once you dust it it will be less sticky. But if you read her notes above “Sakiz (mastic gum) another ingredient revered by the Sultans, can be used to create a chewier version”. If you want it more solid you need to add mastic gum.

    Beautiful recipe thank you for sharing

    • Ozlem Warren March 11, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      You are most welcome Jamie, mastic gum is lovely too in lokum, as you say, glad you enjoyed my recipe, best wishes, Ozlem


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