- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 4 packets gelatin
- 2 3/4 cups cold water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
- 1 cup broken pieces of walnut
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- Cooking spray
Ratluk Lokum, The Pleasures of Turkish Delight
Ratluk Lokum is a soft jelly confection dusted with powdered sugar and flavored most often with lemon, rose or vanilla, and sometimes studded with pistachios or walnuts. The best are said to be from Sarajevo, Bosnia, where you can get them in a variety of flavors.
The sweet delicacy comes originally from the Ottoman Empire and was introduced into the Austro Hungarian Empire around the time of the Battle of Vienna; a century later an Englishman brought some back from a trip to Istanbul and sold it as Turkish Delight.
I’ve had the manufactured versions before, but they taste dry and less flavorful than ratluk made fresh. Out in Washington State, they’re sold as Aplets and Cotlets. The Serbian Embassy served a plateful last month on the World Embassy Tour, and it was divine; soft, sweet and melt in your mouth good.
Turkish Delight often elicits wild passions in people. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Edward is seduced by the witch with a piece of Turkish Delight in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
In this hilarious Dudley Moore and Peter Cook skit, The Psychiatrist, Dudley’s character is prone to screaming every time he sees his wife. Cook, the psychiatrist, shoves a piece of Turkish Delight in his mouth in an attempt at “behavior aversion” therapy.
In this song from the Broadway play, Kismet, Eartha Kitt acts out an erotic recipe for ratluk in the song Rahadlakum, an obvious play on words. Watch how she stirs and stirs the ratluk lokum with a wooden spoon, and then strokes it back and forth in the pan, about half way through the song.
Below is Pauline’s recipe for ratluk lokum. I found it fairly easy to make, although getting the lumps out of the corn starch was a bit of a pain (I ended up straining it before I poured it into the pan). I found a bottle of rose water at a Korean store – its perfume is heavenly, and it produces a wonderful flavor that most people will be unable to identify. Her relatives in Vojvodina tell me that their favorite is rose flavored with walnuts, so that’s what I made. Pauline would enjoy it for breakfast with a cup of strong Turkish coffee.
Toss with the confectioners sugar mixture. Serve or store in airtight container in layers separated with parchment paper. Keeps for up to a week