Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
If your a fan of the old musical Kismet from the the 50's like me then you'll be familiar with the name Rahat Lokum. In Kismet it was touted to have great seductive properties. Be that as it may, I always wondered if it was a real recipe and sure enough it is and a very old one! The sweet as it is known today was invented by Bekir Effendi, who moved from his hometown Kastamonu to Istanbul and opened his confectionery shop near the Yeni Camii Mosque in 1776. Originally, honey and molasses were its sweeteners, and water and flour were the binding agents, with rosewater, lemon peel and bitter orange as the most common flavors (red, yellow and green). Lokum was introduced to Western Europe in the 19th century. During this time, it became a practice among upperclass socialites to exchange pieces of "Turkish Delight" wrapped in silk handkerchiefs as presents.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons rose water or 1⁄2 teaspoon rose food flavoring or 1⁄4 cup fruit juice (apple is nice) or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon orange extract or 1 tablespoon creme de menthe
- red food coloring (looks nicer with it) (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup chopped roasted pistachios (add along with your choice from above) (optional) or 1⁄2 cup almonds (add along with your choice from above) (optional)
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar or 1 cup granulated sugar (1 c equals 250 ml) or 1 cup desiccated coconut, for dusting (1 c equals 250 ml)
- Combine sugar, 1 c water, cream of tartar, and flavoring(s) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch with remaining water, mix completely, and slowly stir into sugar mixture.
- Boil over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture reaches "Firm-ball stage," or 248 F (120C) on a candy thermometer.
- Apply non-stick cooking spray to a form (ice cube trays will do nicely) or an 8x8 pan.
- Pour the hot mixture into the pan or form and allow to set. When cool, release from form or cut into cubes as applicable and roll each piece in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or coconut.
- Store at room temperature in airtight container.
Well, I think I have to chalk this one up to operator error. I think the saucepan I used was a bit too large. The mixture had not reached the right temperature before it started turning dark - really almost caramelizing, but without that "burnt" flavor. The recipe had not said when to add the coloring, I added it about half-way through the cooking process, but you would not have been able to tell because of the darkening. It never did reach the right stage. I poured it into a pan - a 8x8 pan was too large, I ended up folding up foil to make it roughly 8x4 to get a good thickness. It was not quite jellied enough to cut into cubes - you can cut them, but they are droopy. Again, I think it needed to cook more, but I was afraid it would burn. I'll need to try this again, because I do remember eating these and liking them - however, I'll need to buy more sugar, this cleaned out my supply!