Brixton recipe: Sorrel Turkish Delight

Sorrel Turkish Delight for Christmas

I seem to have got stuck into the Christmas drinks already with absolutely no worries of what anyone might think. One those festive tipples is sorrel drink which is traditionally drunk for Christmas  all over the Caribbean, either as a non alcoholic drink for all the family or with added rum and wine to make a punch. I’ve been quaffing the virgin version since seeing a bottle of cordial in Esme’s in Market Row the other week. Since I won’t be in Brixton for Christmas I wanted to think of a way to incorporate the flavour without being hard to transport and my intention to make Turkish Delight became a reality.

This recipe isn’t difficult, but it is a little bit time consuming and potentially nerve wracking due to the molten sugar. Lay everything out in advance, use a sugar thermometer, take your time and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how straightfoward it is. Christmas music is optional…

Sorrel Turkish Delight (makes about 40 bite sized pieces)

  • 450g white sugar
  • 900ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 100g cornflour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sorrel cordial (or 8 of home brewed from flowers)
  • 50g cornflour and 50g icing sugar, mixed for dusting, this is extra to above

First prepare your dish. Use something deeper than a baking tray, a square cake tin or roasting tin is perfect. Then line with clingfilm, tucking it right into the corners and oil the top of it so that it’s slippery but not greasy. This will stop the Turkish Delight from sticking as it sets.

Then heat all the sugar with 150ml of water and the cream of tartar. The cream of tartar stops the sugar crystallising and makes this all much easier so even though it seems like a faff, don’t skip it. Bring the sugar and water to the boil and then cook until it reaches 115℃ on your thermometer which in sugarwork is known as the ‘soft ball’ stage. Remove from the heat immediately. It will now be a proper syrup.

Put the 100g cornflour and 100g icing sugar in a large pan and mix to a paste with about 50ml of the remaining 750ml of water. This action, using cold water means there will be no lumps. Add the remaining water, beating well with a whisk. Then heat this mixture until it thickens and looks slightly translucent and gluey.

Take the pan off the heat and gently pour in the sugar syrup you made earlier, whisking it all the time. Return it to the heat and bring the mix to the boil. It should blip and bubble but not spit. Stir regularly to stop it catching and cook for 30 minutes or until 120℃ on your thermometer. If cooking without one, the mix will look slightly jellified and yellowish when ready, becoming harder to whisk.

Remove from the heat and beat in the sorrel cordial. This will colour the Turkish Delight a gorgeous vivid pink, but if you were using another flavouring such as rosewater or citrus oils, you could add a drop or two of food colouring. Pour the mix into your oiled tray and leave to cool completely somewhere warm and dry (ie: not the fridge). This will take at least 3-4 hours, but maybe even overnight.

Once cooled, your Turkish Delight should be well set but not as firm as a jelly. Cut into bite sized cubes and toss in the cornflour/icing sugar mix you made. If you aren’t eating the Turkish Delight immediately, it will absorb some of this mix so be generous when dredging. You can store it, but don’t keep it somewhere airtight like Tupperware or it will become wet, a wooden box or paper bag is ideal. These cute paper bags will work if you are giving as a present this Christmas. And since this is vegetarian friendly, gluten free, cheap, easy to make and highly impressive for a minimum of effort, this is my kind of Christmas gift…