Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mock eggs

In the weeks leading up to Easter, I was very tempted to buy some turkish delight eggs, which are a particular favourite of mine. I refrained from doing so with the knowledge that I had a recipe for turkish delight in my Edmonds book (p222) and, since I'm going to have enough trouble finding reasons to use the recipes in the 'Sweets' chapter, I thought I had better take this opportunity to get at least one under my belt.

Turkish delight is basically just sugar, water and gelatine, with a little flavouring and colouring thrown in. To begin with, it's pretty easy: you just boil the sugar, water and gelatine in a pot. Once it's been boiling for 15 minutes, you take it off the heat, add tataric acid, rosewater for flavour, and a few drops of red food colouring.

Then pour it into a tin lined with wet baking paper, and leave to set ... for 24 hours. That bit was a trial on  my patience. It doesn't say to refrigerate it, so the tin was sitting (covered) on my stovetop for a whole day, and every time I went past I couldn't resist poking my finger in to see how far it had set.

In the end, I only left it for about 22 hours. I figured that would be long enough. The next bit sounds pretty easy - cut the turkish delight into squares, and roll them in a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar. Yep, sounds easy.

Whether it was because I hadn't left it for the full 24 hours, or whether it's always this way, it was practically impossible to separate the turkish delight into neat little squares. They just stuck and stretched and refused to separate. In the end, I was forced to be pretty heavy-handed with the cornflour/sugar mixture, which was the only thing that would counteract the stickiness.

In the end, I had a pile of misshapen pink blobs, which, along with myself and the entire kitchen, were coated in cornflour and icing sugar. But I wasn't about to stop there. In choosing to make my own turkish delight instead of buying the eggs, I thought "after all, I can just dip some of the pieces in chocolate, right?"

Yeah. Good idea.

I melted some choc buttons in a bowl over a saucepan, and got out the dipping swirl. Rolling a few ragged pieces of my turkish delight between my hands produced a egg-like shapes, and the first few I dipped didn't look too bad - they didn't keep the egg shape, but that wasn't really the point.

Of course, In playing around with shaping the turkish delight balls, I hadn't noticed the water in my saucepan boiling like fury. So, naturally, the chocolate got too hot. While I rescued it before it got that lovely burnt-chocolate flavour, it still ruined the texture and made it all lumpy. But I persisted. I managed to make a handful of chocolate covered blobs, and left them to set.

When they were partially set, I took up some of the worst ones and rolled them between my hands, smoothing out the blobby chocolate, and once again restoring the egg-shape. This was so successful that I decided to do it with all of them. It was at this point that I discovered that the sugar in the turkish delight had reacted with the hot chocolate, crystalising into sugary masses around the inside edges of the chocolate.

By the end of it all, from snacking and licking chocolately fingers, I was absolutely sick of both chocolate and turkish delight. But I had a result of sorts - as well as a kitchen absolutely covered in sugar, cornflour, gooey turkish delight, and melted chocolate. Next time I'll just buy the eggs.

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