Turkish Delight

Thanks to C.S. Lewis and the Pevensie children, I made some Turkish Delight. I’m currently teaching The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in one of my classes, and when we got to the chapter on Turkish Delight, none of my students had ever tried it. So I found a recipe.

I will say, according to my (limited) research, this isn’t a completely authentic recipe, as it contains gelatin. The original recipes don’t, but apparently the gelatin makes it a bit more foolproof. I didn’t want to make the recipe twice, so I made the “foolproof” version, but I still flavoured it with rosewater, so the flavour is at least authentic. You will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe, so be warned!

I found this recipe here, and I don’t know if my students will like it (they seemed apprehensive with the flavour of rosewater when I told them about it), but at least it’s as authentic as I can attempt!

Ingredients

Yield: About 50 candies, depending on cut size

2 2/3 c. cold water, divided
2 tbsp. rosewater
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. powdered gelatin
2¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ c. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 drops red or pink food colouring

For dusting:

½ c. cornstarch
¼ c. icing sugar

Grease and line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a small bowl, combine the dusting mixture of cornstarch and icing sugar. Dust a small amount into the parchment lined pan.

In a medium bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine ½ cup of cold water, rosewater, and vanilla. Sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and set aside to bloom.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, 1 1/3 c. water, honey, and cream of tartar. Stir, then place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan, making sure the tip doesn’t hit the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium, and keep an eye on it, making sure it gets to 255°F. It might take about 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat.

While the sugar syrup is coming to temperature, whisk together the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small pot. Whisk in the remaining water, 1 cup (200 ml), and whisk until no lumps remain.

Boil, whisking continually, until the mixture thickens and turns into a thick paste, like the consistency of petroleum jelly.

Pour a small amount of the sugar syrup (once at temperature) into the cornstarch mixture. Pour the mixture back into the sugar syrup mixture, and whisk over low heat until combined with no lumps and fully incorporated.

Remove from heat, and whisk in the gelatin mixture and food colouring. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared square pan. Cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours, then cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool 8-10 hours, or overnight.

Spread a bit of the dusting mixture on a large work surface, and lift the Turkish Delight out of the pan. Using a knife that has been sprayed with oil, cut the candies to size and dust on all sides with the cornstarch dusting mixture.

Keep in an airtight container.

Butter Tart Squares

Here is a Canadian classic… in square form! These are even easier than making butter tarts, because you just make one big batch. Paul was a little out of sorts, because he firmly believes that raisins belong in butter tarts, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I took the “optional” directive for the raisins.

These are so easy to make, and how could you go wrong with such a classic treat? I found the original recipe here, and as I said, the only thing I changed was to leave out the aforementioned optional raisins.

I made these for a New Year’s Party, and had a ton leftover, so we decided to freeze them and have them later. These were a hit, so go make them!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 3 dozen squares, depending on cut side

For the crust:

2 c. flour
4 tbsp. icing sugar
1 c. butter, cold and cubed
1-2 tbsp. cold water

For the filling:

½ c. butter
3 c. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. vanilla
¾ c. golden raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and icing sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until pea-sized lumps of butter remain. Add water as needed to get mixture to hold together when you squeeze a lump of it.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan, and press into a firm layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a microwave safe measuring cup. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and the brown sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until smooth. Add in the vanilla and the vinegar, and whisk again. Stir in the raisins, if using.

Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling center is almost set – just a slight jiggle.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, and refrigerate for several hours before slicing and serving.

Saskatoon Berry Pie

This is a Canadian pie flavour if you ever saw one!

Our neighbours stopped by the other day with a bunch of fresh Saskatoon berries because they picked too many. What a great present!

I’ve never really worked with Saskatoon berries before, but Paul is a big fan of them. I have discovered that I love the flavour of them, but the texture throws me off a bit. So, I made a pie, ate a piece, and promptly cut Paul a bigger slice.

Since it’s fresh berry season, find some of these Saskatoon berries, and make this pie! I found the original recipe here, and didn’t change anything at all. I should have put a bit more cornstarch in the recipe, but like I said, this was the first time I have baked with Saskatoon berries, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Either way, the flavour is great, and Paul really enjoyed the pie. If it has the Paul seal of approval, it’s a winner!

Ingredients

1 9-inch pie

1 recipe Flaky Butter double pie crust
4 c. Saskatoon berries
1/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
1 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a pie plate with the pie crust.

In a medium saucepan, add the Saskatoon berries and the 1/3 c. water. If you are using fresh berries, you may need a bit more water. Bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add to the berries, and stir until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened.

Add the butter, lemon juice, and almond extract, and stir until butter is melted. Let cool.

Pour cooled filling into the pie plate, then cover with the top crust and crimp edges. Cut holes for ventilation.

Whisk together the egg and the water, then brush the egg wash over the pie.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Cool, slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Nanaimo Bars

Happy Canada Day!

I was feeling in the mood to celebrate Canada Day, and I figured what better way to celebrate than making a treasured national dessert.

I had no idea how easy Nanaimo bars are to make, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not making them sooner. I like Nanaimo bars, but I find that they can be a bit rich, so when I indulge, I usually only have a small piece. Paul loves them, though, and he doesn’t get them very often. These are also no-bake! How fantastic is that! There is a little bit of stove-top use, but really, that’s about it. For the recipe, I actually went to my mom, and to the plethora of cookbooks I have in my kitchen. I found a recipe in a Company’s Coming cookbook, and my mom (bless her heart!) actually sent me to the City of Nanaimo website, where they HAVE A RECIPE FOR THESE! Crazy, right?

The Company’s Coming cookbook was the 150 Delicious Squares book, (where these Marshmallow Squares originated from), and here is the link to the City of Nanaimo website. I compared them to see how different they are, and they are almost identical, so I took a few things from the cookbook, and a few things from the website to create (hopefully) a perfect version of a Canadian classic.

Happy Canada Day from me to you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 inch pan (24-36 bars, depending on cut size)

For the bottom layer:

½ c. butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder, sifted
¼ c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
¾ c. shredded unsweetened coconut
½ c. finely chopped almonds

For the middle layer:

2 c. icing sugar
½ c. butter, softened
3 tbsp. milk or cream
2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I used Bird’s brand)

For the top layer:

2/3 c. (or 4 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter

To make the bottom layer, melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add in the cocoa and sugar and stir until smooth. Add in the beaten egg. Stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Press into an ungreased 9×9 square pan. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the middle layer, beat the butter with the icing sugar and custard powder until smooth. Add in the milk or cream as needed. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the top layer, in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring often. Remove from heat when chocolate is almost fully melted, and stir until smooth. Spread evenly over middle layer. Smooth out, and chill in the refrigerator until top layer is set.

Slice and serve.

Olive Oil Cake with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream

I have to be honest. I didn’t come up with this combination.

I was visiting a friend of mine in Lethbridge, and we went on a dinner date to a new Italian restaurant in town. We split one of their desserts: an olive oil cake with a limoncello mascarpone cream sauce. It was absolutely heavenly.

Well, my friend Jericka told me I HAD to try and recreate the cake at home, and I was up for the challenge. I mean, it was just an olive oil cake. The cream part was a little more complicated. I wasn’t sure about all of the meshing of the flavours, but then sure enough, Jericka found a recipe for just the cream we were looking for.

The original recipe for the cake was found here, and the recipe for the cream was here. Not going to lie, I made a few changes that I have reflected below in the recipe. Looking at the comments for the cake, I reduced the amount of olive oil ever so slightly, and switched out the orange flavourings for lemon. For the cream, I just used the cream part of the recipe, and whipped it by hand for about 5 minutes. I didn’t want a full-on whipped cream, so I stopped when it was thicker, at just barely soft peaks.

The cake and the cream paired perfectly together, and reminded me exactly of the cake I was attempting to recreate. I call that a success!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch round cake or 1 10 inch Bundt with cream

For the cake:

2 c. flour
1¾ c. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 c. olive oil
1¼ c. milk
3 eggs
1½ tbsp. grated lemon zest (or ½ tsp. lemon extract)
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. limoncello liqueur

For the cream:

¾ c. chilled whipping cream
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. limoncello liqueur

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 9 inch cake pan that is at least two inches tall. If you don’t have a pan that tall, use a springform pan or a Bundt pan. Make sure every corner is sprayed down with oil. If using a circular pan, line the bottom with parchment. If using a Bundt pan, use A LOT of oil to make sure that the cake comes out. (Mine stuck a bit… just warning you.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest (or extract), and limoncello. Add in the dry ingredients, and whisk together until just combined.

Transfer batter to cake pan, and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and cool in pan for 30 minutes. Remove from cake pan, and allow to cool completely.

To make the limoncello cream, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, limoncello, and cheese. Whisk vigorously until mixture thickens to soft peaks, about 5-7 minutes.

To serve, slice cake, and top with cream.