Homemade Turkish Delight

by Barry Lewis


800g (2 cups) sugar

1000ml (4.25 cups) water

200g Cornflour (more as needed)

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 lemon

½ tsp salt

1½  tsp orange extract

2 tbsp rosewater

35g (¼ cup) pistachio kernels, chopped

Red food colouring

It was a bit dark and dingy today in the usual kitchen…so we’ve gone somewhere new – welcome to the garden kitchen, folks! 

Recently I showed you all how much me and Mrs B dislike Turkish Delight. That was the classic Fry’s Turkish Delight drenched in chocolate, the kind my nan loved and most of you do too. But everyone told me I had to try REAL Turkish Delight and make my own homemade Turkish Delight.

Fun fact, Turkish Delight is also known as “lokum” and comes in loads of different flavours with nuts in too – hazelnuts, walnuts, dates etc or like we’re doing today, pistachios!

This is one of the most bizarre recipes I’ve done recently with thick white pastes, golden-orange jelly and more! And nearly a kilo of sugar?? No wonder you lot like this, that’s obscene!

You’ll need a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of this, I highly recommend a candy thermometer which is amazing, everyone should have one of these!

So for those of you who are on my side with Turkish Delight, you have to try this, I am a changed man! It’s not too sweet (despite all the sugar!), it has a lemony orange citrus kick behind the rosewater which isn’t too overpowering, and it’s not too gelatinous or gummy!

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go:

Homemade Turkish Delight Recipe

Pour 426ml water (1.5 cups) and all the sugar into one saucepan, then bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar into the water over a high heat. This needs to boil until the sugar syrup reaches 115C (240F).

While this boils, line a baking dish with foil and spray with cooking oil. I would probably prefer baking parchment, but I’m following the recipe this time! This should* help get it out at the end!

Meanwhile, weigh out the cornflour, add the rest of the water (that’s 575ml or 2.75 cups), the cream of tartar and the juice of 1 lemon. Whisk this together to agitate it so there are no lumps over the heat. Keep whisking until it looks like a thick white paste AKA that transparent ketchup with NO lumps at all!

When the sugar syrup reaches temperature, slowly pour it into the thick white paste to bring it back to life over a medium heat. Be very careful as this could easily scold you! Whisk it from time to time as it bubbles gently over the medium heat for at least 45 minutes (I went nearly double the time!) until it turns into a golden orange jelly.

It’s time now to add the flavours, you can go any way you like with this, it doesn’t have to be rosewater! The food dye is optional, I added a splash of red though. Then in with the orange extract, our good friend the rosewater, a little shimmy of salt, and give these a stir through.

Layer half of the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish, sprinkle with a layer of chopped pistachios, then finish with a final layer of the Turkish Delight mixture. You could stir them through or dollop on top or omit them entirely, it’s your choice!

Let this stand until it reaches room temperature, then put into the fridge to set for around 2 hours.

Once it’s set, tip out of the baking dish onto a board and peel off the foil. To cut it up, I dipped my knife into some icing sugar which is what we’re going to decorate it with anyway. In a bowl, measure out your icing sugar, then one by one, dip the cube of Turkish Delight and coat it entirely in sugar. Now this might taste awful to me, but

Homemade Turkish Delight Recipe

I’m very proud of myself – it looks awesome!

*SHOULD – The asterisk as promised!