Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight

Can you guess what our family’s costume theme was for Halloween this year?

Yes, we were The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. And you’d better believe that the wardrobe was fully functional and opened to reveal a beautiful view of Narnia. “Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am ridiculous. And also obsessive. And a total cheeseball. High five!”

Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight | SugarHero.com

We didn’t go trick or treating, but we did participate in our church’s Trunk or Treat night. (As candy givers, not receivers. The sugarbaby is too young to be used as a shameless excuse for parental candy gathering…sigh.)

We kitted out our trunk with a Narnia theme, complete with twinkling lights, snowflake garlands, and flocked tree branches. In addition to the purchased candy we handed out, I made a special batch of Turkish Delight to share with the trick or treaters.

Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight | SugarHero.com


If you’re not familiar with the Narnia books or movies, all you need to know is that one of the characters makes a life-altering decision because someone offered him some Turkish Delight, and he couldn’t refuse. If you were to read it without knowing what Turkish Delight was, you would think that it must be the world’s greatest candy, to cause such devotion and poor judgment.

However, if you’ve had Turkish Delight, you might well think differently. One of my friends described it as “a candy of last resort, which people only liked back in the day because they didn’t know what real candy should taste like.”

Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight | SugarHero.com

It’s true that there’s a lot of bad Turkish Delight out there. For one thing, it’s commonly flavored with rosewater, which is somewhat unusual to most taste buds. If it’s used improperly, it can make your candies taste like soap or lotion, which isn’t one of the more desirable outcomes.

For another, it has a bit of a strange texture. It’s sort of a gummy candy, but it’s made with cornstarch instead of gelatin, so it doesn’t sproing so much as have a soft, subtle chew. I actually really enjoy the texture, but it can get weird as it ages, so if you have some less-than-fresh stuff, you might wonder how anyone could get excited about eating a squeaky sponge.

Now that I’ve told you all the bad stuff, here’s the good news! Turkish Delight that you make at home is worlds better than anything you can buy in the stores. I’ve added fresh raspberry puree and toasted pistachios to this recipe, to mellow the rose flavor and give the squares a bit of textural interest. The result is a candy that’s chewy but not sticky, fruity and nutty with a hint of floral flavor, entirely unique, and weirdly addictive.

Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight | SugarHero.com

I wasn’t sure how the Turkish Delight would go over with the Trunk or Treaters, but it was a hit! The kids were mostly baffled and reached for the Snickers instead, but the adults were curious to try it, and many of them copped to liking these odd little squares! Give it a try and see what you think—would you, like Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, make a deal with the evil queen just to have some Turkish Delight?

Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight
yield: one 9×9-inch pan

Print this Recipe!

Notes: you will need a candy thermometer for this recipe. Rosewater is commonly found with the middle eastern ingredients at large grocery stores or specialty markets, or it can be ordered online. It can be omitted from this recipe with fine results, but your Turkish Delight will be less authentic.

8 ounces raspberries (to yield 1/2 cup raspberry puree)
4 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water, divided use
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp rosewater
1/2 tsp raspberry extract (optional)
1 cup toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 cup powdered sugar

Line a 9×9-inch pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Set aside for now.

If using frozen raspberries, thaw them completely first. Puree the raspberries in a blender, then strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the seeds. You should have about 1/2 cup of raspberry puree—the exact quantity doesn’t matter. Add enough water to equal 3 cups of liquid (probably around 2 1/2 cups), and set aside for now.

Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Bring the candy to a boil, then insert a candy thermometer. Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.

When the sugar syrup reaches about 225 F, start preparing the rest of the ingredients. Combine the 3 cups of raspberry puree/water from earlier with the cornstarch and cream of tartar in a larger (at least 4 quart) saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat, and whisk everything together until there are no lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. It will become very thick and pasty.

Once the sugar syrup is at 240, slowly stream it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking the entire time so that it doesn’t clump up. Once all the sugar syrup is in, continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.

Turn the heat to low and simmer the candy, whisking every 5-10 minutes, for 45 minutes. It will scorch on the bottom if you’re not careful, so do make sure to whisk it regularly. By the end, it will be very thick and gluey.

When it’s finished cooking remove it from the heat and stir in the raspberry extract (if using), the rosewater, and the chopped pistachios. Scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Let the Turkish Delight rest until set, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once set, use a large sharp knife to cut it into small squares. Roll the squares in powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking together. Store Turkish Delight in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.

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12 Responses to Raspberry-Pistachio Turkish Delight
  1. Danguole says:

    High five! I love it!

  2. What a wonderful treat…you mentioned cornstach in the method of prep…but its not there in the ingredients list..can you please let me know the quantity of cornstach to be added?

  3. Hello, love your photos, and follow you posts frequently; was wondering how much cornstarch you use, as I dont see it listed in the ingredients list. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m sorry for the omission! It’s 1 1/4 cups of cornstarch. I’ve fixed the recipe above. I hope you enjoy it–please let me know what you think!

  4. Grandma says:

    Hi – This sounds marvelous but how much cornstarch? I can’t seem to find that on the ingredients list. Thanks!

  5. This sounds delicious, I am a fan of Turkish Delight and hate the synthetic flavours, particularly of lemon Turkish Delight, that you can buy.
    This Christmas, though, I followed a recipe for Turkish Delight to make as a gift, and found that the finished cubes ‘sweated’ constantly unless I let them air out. Have you come across this? Lots of people on the Internet seem to have the same problem.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Yes, I know what you mean. I think it’s just one of the necessary evils of working with Turkish Delight. Cutting them and then leaving them out to form a “skin” is the easiest way to prevent it. I tend to not worry about it too much, and just roll them in additional layers of powdered sugar as needed…although I know that’s not a good option when gift-giving.

      There’s also special non-melting powdered sugar you can buy, that doesn’t absorb moisture. I haven’t tried it on Turkish Delight, but it works wonderfully well on things like lemon bars, so that might be worth a shot. King Arthur Flour and many other websites sell it.

  6. Tiffany says:

    I am so glad I found you and your recipe. My son’s 3rd grade class is reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe…his teacher sent out a request for a parent to make Turkish Delight for the kids to try. I volunteered, before realizing how labor intensive it is to make. Your recipe is absolutely divine! My son helped me make it…and, was “delighted” to be the official taste tester!! Other parents were excited that this recipe is also gluten free! I rolled some in powdered sugar…and dipped some in chocolate! It is a sinful treat…it must have been your recipe that poor Edmund found so irresistible! Thank you so ever so much for sharing it.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Tiffany, thanks so much for the comment! I’m so glad to know that this recipe was able to help and that your son’s class enjoyed it! Your comment made me grin from ear to ear–thank you!

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