October 25, 2017

WWI Era Turkish Delight Recipe

"I am now on a hospital ship bound for somewhere, and I don’t know where...I have been wounded in the foot, but not seriously. You know what things are on an hospital ship, plenty of everything. I shall have a good yarn to tell you when I come home, and I don’t think it will be long. It isn’t half hot our here, and it doesn’t half make you stare to see a seven foot Turk in front of you. It makes you think you are going to have Turkish delight for supper..." -Private Charlie Cox in a letter to his parents Sept. 28, 1915

WWI Recipes Candy Turkish Delight

I'm very happy I had a chance to make this. I was hoping I could make something delicious to send on over to Newville but it's been quite the week. I found this recipe while researching Trench Cake and ending up finding a recipe for "Trench Fudge" (apparently there's no information anywhere about what trench fudge is) above this deliciousness.

Turkish Delight, also known as, Lokum, Lumps of Delight or Turkish Paste was created in the late 1700s in Turkey. According to the Arabic name, rāḥat al-ḥulqūm, they were likely developed as a throat soother. The candy became very popular in the West during the 1860s. Popular flavors included rose water, lemon, orange, honey, and molasses. The oldest recipes rely on the sugar and fruit Pectin to gel. The addition of gelatin is very typical of the time period. Gelatin was made for centuries as a result of boiling bones but gelatin desserts became very popular at the end of the 19th century. It was at this time Jell-o appeared.

No post on Turkish Delight would be complete without mention of C.S. Lewis and Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. There's a really good article on the popularity of Turkish Delight during the time period and how the difficulty of the recipe and the amount of sugar involved made Turkish Delight seem like a ridiculous luxury during the food rationing of WWII.

The Recipe:   

WWI Recipe Candy Turkish Delight
World War 1 I Recipe Turkish Delight Candy


The result ended up being better than expected. I was afraid it wouldn't gel but in the morning it was perfectly solid. The gelatin flavor is a little strong. Other contemporary recipes call for the addition of lemon or orange oil and I think that would be a good addition. This recipe can also be made with vegetarian gelatin.
I used a greased 9 x 6 " loaf pan. If I was to make this again I would probably use whole nuts so that they don't all float to the top. The times I used were very approximate as I was cooking in between calling a tow truck andwaiting for it. :) I might have done around 7 minutes for each boil. I was worried it might not gel but I had no issues. I covered it with a cloth when I left it to set over night in in the refrigerator to try to keep some of the moisture off.  Once cut, I made sure they were well coated in powdered sugar which dulled the candy to a peachy-orange color. 

I've read conflicting advice from "keep in an airtight container" to "keep in a paper bag," and read storage estimates from 3 days to 3 months. I put 1/2 in an airtight container, the other half I wrapped individually in little bits of parchment paper.  If either method keeps them good by next week, I'll be sure to send them on to the event and leave an update here on which method is better.

Hope you enjoy!  

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