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Archive for August, 2011

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

The challenge involved making one chocolate and one non-chocolate lolly (sorry, I can’t bring myself to say candy).

I decided to make my triumphant return to the Daring Kitchen with:

1. Strawberry Pate De Fruit
2. Turkish Delight
3. Violet Crumbles

The result? One binned strawberry jelly, one binned turkish delight, one binned honeycomb and one winning batch of violet crumble!

I started with the pate de fruit. I couldn’t find pectin (apart from Jamsetta) anywhere so I went with this , substituting the raspberries for strawberries (which are cheap and delicious in Australia).

Strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and jam ready for concocting

All seemed fine until I went to roll them in sugar. They then turned into pretty red cubes swimming in sugar syrup. I must stress that this is my error, not the recipe’s error, but the end result was still something less than magical.

This is them before they melted - pretty, huh?

So on to the next task I went…

I love turkish delight, so it seemed the obvious choice. I used this recipe, from Audax Artifex (http://audaxartifex.blogspot.com) , a person for whom I have huge respect.

Turkish Delight
Ingredients
4 cups castor (superfine) sugar or you can use granulated sugar
1 cup cornstarch, sifted well, make sure it is fresh
1 teaspoon cream of tartar, sifted
4 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons rosewater (not extract) or orange blossom water (not extract) or 1 tablespoon violet water (not extract) or any other natural flavouring you wish
a few drops of food colouring (optional)
1 cup of nuts, chopped (optional)
3 cups (or more) confectioners’ (icing) sugar, for coating, sifted
1 cups (or more) cornstarch, for coating, sifted
Preparation
In a 9 inch (23 cm) baking pan, grease the sides and bottom with vegetable oil or shortening, or use some oil spray. Line with lightly sprayed-oiled parchment paper.

In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water on medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (i.e. soft-ball stage – if not using a thermometer test by placing a few drops of mixture into cold water it should form a soft, yielding ball). Beware it can take a long time to reach 240 degrees (easily over an hour) it depends on your heating source. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine sifted cream of tartar, 1 cup sifted corn starch and remaining water in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all lumps are gone and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring when the mixture has a glue like consistency.

Stir in the lemon juice, water and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Once the mixture has become a golden colour, stir in rosewater or whatever flavouring you are using, and the optional nuts and/or the optional food colouring if using. Pour mixture into the lined pan. Spread evenly and leave for two days on the counter (do not place it in the refrigerator) which allows the Turkish Delight to stabilise and equalises moisture content throughout. Place tin foil or an air tight covering over it while it “matures”. This is the most important step this resting time stops the Turkish Delight sweating when coated with confectioners’ (icing) sugar and cornstarch.

Sift together the coating confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch.

Turn over baking pan containing Turkish Delight onto clean counter or table and cut with oiled knife into one inch cubes.

Use a deep metal tin with an air-tight lid or a plastic air-tight container for the dusting container for the coating mixture of confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch, mix the cut up pieces into it and leave for a further two days. When cut into cubes and layered in the cornstarch/icing sugar it is important to use a lot of coating mixture, not a dusting but a veritable bath. After this time you will be left with perfect Turkish Delight, a slight crust covering a gorgeous soft interior.

Lastly do not refrigerate Turkish Delight at any time as this ruins the texture; store in a cool but not cold place and pack with lots of the icing sugar/corn starch mixture. This Turkish Delight will last several months. I use an air-tight metal box with lots of icing sugar/cornstrach mixture to store my final product.

Always with Turkish Delight keep it dry and cool. Turkish Delight draws water from the atmosphere so always keep it in an air-tight container.

It is important not to use synthetic flavourings they become very bitter in Turkish Delight! Violet water is very strong so be careful with it.

Again, let me stress than any shortcomings in this production were the result of my own incompetence. The recipe stresses the importance of keeping the turkish delight airtight while it matures and, although I used 3 layers of foil, it obviously wasn’t airtight, so it sweated in a most unattractive fashion once I added the cornflour/icing sugar. Here are a few photos before it all turned bad…

Cutting up the slab of turkish delight

ah, young love.

My confidence somewhat (read, badly) shaken, I then turned to honeycomb. First I tried a recipe from the Masterchef website. To be honest, I have no idea what I did wrong. I only know that it ended up soft and chewy and totally unsuitable for my purposes. Again (version 3, I suspect this was user error).

By this stage I was cranky so when I woke up at 3am (as I generally do) I decided to try again. This time I used a Gordon Ramsay recipe (http://www.burstnoggin.com/content/very-simple-recipes/four-easy-steps-to-make-home-made-honeycomb-in-under-20-minutes/) and it worked like a charm. What a relief! My faith in my lolly making ability may be shaken, but at least now I know what to make people for Christmas.

honeycomb

finished product - "rustic" Violet Crumbles

They may not look that great, and I may not actually have complied with the rules of this month’s challenge, but I am counting the Violet Crumbles as a win.

(NB: Sorry, I am also having technical difficulties attaching links this month!)

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