Turkish Delight or Lokum
dates all the way back to the Ottoman Empire when a famous sultan
ordered a local confectioner to produce a delicacy for his many wives.
The resulting combination of gum, fruits, dates, honey and nuts proved
to be so popular that Turkish Delight was served at every court feast
from then on.
It was not long before it became a very fashionable gift between close friends and lovers.
After this, the history gets a little sketchy. Apparently, an unknown
British traveler found Turkish Delights in Istanbul and took the sweets
back with him as gifts for his friends and family. Thus the delicacy
was introduced to the Western world, strangely enough, as a treat to be
shared over Christmas. Luckily, today we don't have to wait until Yule
to eat these small luxuries.
Delight comes in many different flavours: rose, lemon, ginger,
hazelnut. In fact, if you can think it, it can probably go into Turkish
Delight ... and then you can still coat it with chocolate if that takes
your fancy. However, the Turkish Delight that we know in South Africa
(the pinkish and yellowish squares covered in cornflour and icing
sugar) are vastly different from the lokum
you can obtain in Turkey. These sweets are chocobloc full of resin,
whole nuts and fruits, so much so that it seems difficult to believe
that they are even remotely similar to our local variety.
(But, to let you in on a secret, it isn't uncommon for
westerners to find the "true" Turkish Delight a little unpalatable and
to rather opt for our own synthetic range.)
Turkish Delight is known by a number of other names in the Middle East. The most common of these names is lokum, as it is called in Turkey itself. The Armenians have changed this to lokhum and the Bosnians have taken this a step further and call it rahat lokhum. It is possible that the name rahat lokum is derived from an Arabic word, which means contentment of the throat.
Making Turkish Delight
actual production of Turkish Delight is very easy. Basically, all you
need to do is make a syrup of sugar and water and then add some gelatin
and flavourants and leave everything to set. It really is that simple!
But if you are not feeling quite ready to experiment by yourself, try
one of our simple and tasty recipes. They are sure to boost your
confidence and get your creative juices flowing.
6 great Turkish delight recipes
No-bake chocolate cream cake
Turkish delight brulee
Cheese and sweet platter
Lemon Turkish delight