DinnerDork [ \ˈdi-nər\\ˈdȯrk\ ]
It’s crazy how complete strangers can impact our lives through their work. The late, great Robin Williams is one of those people. His body of work is full of opportunities to express the most human of emotions – sorrow, triumph, and perhaps the most human of all – laughter. There’s a tradition in my family to make special dishes for joyous and mournful occasions. Reflecting on memories while preparing a dish to honor a person or occasion, providing a physical reminder of their gifts to the world; a memory that’s rekindled whenever their special dish is enjoyed in the future. ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) news shared a nice recap of Robin Williams’ participation in a Reddit forum last year, where he answered fan questions about some of his favorite things. He frequently spoke of his children, and how precious the time shared with them has been, so I wasn’t surprised to read that C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was both his favorite childhood read and favorite book from The Chronicles of Narnia series to read aloud to his own children. I, too have fond memories of reading the books, watching the BBC series as a child and enjoying the movies with my own daughter. Like Williams’ children, my daughter’s favorite within the series is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As a small tribute to Robin Williams and his reminder to share and cherish our loved ones, I’m sharing this recipe for turkish delight – the candy that plays a special role in his favorite childhood story.
Things to love/know:
- The significance of this tasty candy in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe makes this recipe a fun one to make and share with kids. It’s a great treat to make the day before family movie night, if you’re planning to watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Beautiful and tasty, this is a great recipe to make for gifts, candy exchanges and tea parties. Just be sure to store left-overs in an airtight container.
- If you’re planning a tea party, the rose water that gives turkish delight its distinct flavor is a great addition to tea biscuits and other cookies, scones and cakes. It can even be mixed with warm milk to flavor the milk into a special beverage for anyone who doesn’t like/want tea.
- The rose water may be tough to find, depending on where you live. It’s typically stocked in Middle Eastern markets, but can also be found cheaply online, and even quickly online.
- This recipe like most candy recipes requires use of a candy thermometer. They can be found online and in many cooking supply stores. If you don’t have one already, be sure to get one with convenient features so it can be used for candy making and frying. Ones with a clip attachment are easy to use – simply attach to your pot and read the temperature without the fuss of trying to hold the thermometer while stirring.
- This is a 2-day recipe. The candy will be made one day and left to set overnight before being sliced and dusted for serving the next day.
- 4.5 cups of water
- 4 cups of white sugar
- 1.25 cups cornstarch
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (used on day 2)
- 1.5 tbsp rose water (typically stocked in Middle Eastern markets, but can also be found cheaply online, and even quickly online.)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2-3 drops red food coloring
- Prepare a small dish (approx. 10×8″) – line with wax paper and coat with nonstick spray.
- In a small saucepan combine: white sugar, lemon juice, and 1.5 cups of water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, carefully stirring to avoid forming sugar crystals along the side.
- Insert a candy thermometer and allow to boil. You’ll want the mixture to eventually reach 240 degrees.
- While it’s boiling: combine 3 cups of water, the cream of tartar and cornstarch in another saucepan. Place on medium heat and gently whisk until it is smooth and thick.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove it from the cooktop and pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking so that it combines smoothly.
- Turn the heat down to low, maintaining a gentle simmer and whisk intermittently (every 10 – 12 minutes) over the course of an hour. This is a great step for children to set a timer every 10 minutes when the candy should be stirred.
- When the candy is done (in about an hour) it will be thick and pale yellow in color.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water and food coloring, until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and allow it to set on a countertop overnight. Uncovered is best, but if your pets are nosey like mine you can drape wax paper overtop, very loosely (and barricade if your cat is a ninja like mine 🙂 ).
- The next day, prepare a cutting board with a bit of confectioners sugar and coat a cutting knife with some nonstick spray.
- Flip the dish containing the candy onto the prepared board and peel the wax paper away.
- Cut into small square or your preferred shape.
- Dust all sides with confectioners sugar before placing on a serving dish, and enjoy right away!