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Yesterday I made Turkish Delight, and today I cut it into squares and tasted it. This was the recipe:

  • 330 ml liquid (apple juice, from freshly cold-pressed apples, strong flavor)
  • A small amount of ascorbic acid, to prevent apple juice from browning
  • 330 grams of sugar
  • 25g powdered gelatin
  • icing sugar

Steps:

  • Boil sugar and liquid until at 115 degrees celsius
  • Take off the heat
  • Add gelatin, soaked in a bit of the liquid
  • Let set in a cold environment
  • Cut into pieces
  • Dust with icing
  • Enjoy

It has set fine, it's pretty beautiful and hasn't bled yet (making icing soggy) but perhaps in a while.

The problem is that it is UTTERLY tasteless. Before cooking the sugar solution, it tasted great, and had a beautiful green color. After cooking, it was almost tasteless and almost completely clear.

Why did the juice lose the flavor, and what can I do to prevent it? It happened before adding gelatin.

A bonus question: It took a while to reach 115 degrees, about half an hour. It seems that cooking to 115 was mostly a matter of reducing the solution so that the boiling point increased. Does the extended boiling have any other beneficial effects, or can I simply increase the sugar amount from the start and bring it to a boil?

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Somebody with more knowledge should provide a full answer, but I wager that's too long to boil fresh juice for apply tasty. Did the recipe call for fresh juice or did you sub fresh for commercial? –  rfusca Jan 16 '12 at 17:49
    
@rfusca I subbed it in since I didn't have rose water, and I'm not 100% fond of the taste, a little bit too perfumish. I'll try with less boilage next time, and if it still doesn't work, I'll have to stick with more traditional seasonings like rose.. –  Max Jan 16 '12 at 18:06
    
then it totally makes sense. –  rfusca Jan 16 '12 at 18:07
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

First, I don't know where you people all get these gelatin-filled Turkish delight recipes. Turkish delight is made with starch, not gelatin (at least the recipes used in Turkey are all with refined starch or rice flour). What you are making here is jell-o (if you use small amounts of gelatin) or gummi bears (if you use lots of gelatin).

Second, about the taste. It is normal that fresh apple juice loses its taste when it is cooked. The normal Turkish delight tastes of sugar. Its aroma comes from strong aromas added to the liquid (rose essence, or artificial aroma). You don't preserve natural fruit tastes in Turkish delight. Even if you wanted to, I don't think there is a way to do it with apple juice. Some stronger tasting fruits (cherries, raspberries) could give a syrup with more taste, but are not part of traditional lokum.

Third, about the temperature. Your observation is correct, you are just evaporating the liquid. In some cases, it might be desirable to start with more liquid and evaporate, so you get more concentrated aroma - for example, if you have started with pure rose water. But if you are making a recipe which requires concentrated sugar syrup, it is OK to start with a ratio which creates saturated syrup at room temperature (3 parts sugar to 2 parts water) and cook until the desired consistency is reached (this is recognizable from the boiling point).

For most recipes however, you don't want a concentrated syrup. The candy hardness is defined by the amount of starch used. In this case, you just mix everything and you are ready after it has bubbled, just like any pudding. The amount of sugar seems to be 1 part sugar to 2 parts water.

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Hehe, sorry about that... I scoured the web using google, and probably 4 of 5 recipes called for gelatin... I did notice the texture was not exactly TD, but it was pretty good in it's own right... But about the taste: Why do you say 'You don't preserve natural fruit tastes in TD'? Do you mean if I want purist TD? Or because it is not possible? :) Thanks for the answer :) –  Max Jan 16 '12 at 18:04
    
And also, though I know it is off topic, would you know a good, simple recipe for true TD? –  Max Jan 16 '12 at 18:36
    
Yes, by now I have also noticed that Western recipes for some reason involve gelatin. This is not how it is made in Turkey. And "you don't preserve" means both. First, when you bake or boil fruit, the flavor changes and most of the aroma disappears (compare jam to fresh fruit). Some fruit might work, if it generally keeps aroma after boiling, for example oranges or cherries. Second (probably because of first), all the fruit flavored lokum you can buy is made with artificial aroma. –  rumtscho Jan 16 '12 at 19:09
    
I haven't made it myself. The recipes I found ranged in their ratios a lot, and specified things like "cook until thickened enough", the least problematic description was "until a drop gels" (it doesn't specify whether in water or on cold porcelain). If I had to try, I would start with 3 parts sugar, 2 parts water, 1 part starch, acid and aroma to taste, then cook until the drop gels on porcelain, but I am far from sure that this is the best ratio. It should be that way for hard lokum (for eating), you use less starch for soft (for filling pastry). –  rumtscho Jan 16 '12 at 19:20
    
Thanks! I'll try that next time. I just noticed, my gelatin-TD are definately weeping. The icing is completely dissolved. I read in another answer that I could use xantham gum to stabilize the jelly. Is the same thing needed when using starch? –  Max Jan 16 '12 at 19:47
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From my exeperiance with trying to make orange/lemon souflle a dozen times, heat destroys the sour (citric acid/tartaic acid) flavour of the original mix. I would recommend adding the flavouring, when it is luke warm during the last cooling step.

The other factor that is causing flavourless ness, is too much gelatin, when i create hard jellies with added gelatin, the gelatin retains the sugar and stops it dissolving when chewed, so it doesn't taste as sweet as when it is a goopy jelly.

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You did not add ROSE WATER. That's the Delight in Turkish Delight.

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