Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pistachio Rose Loukoumi

What are loukoumi? They are candies from Greece similar to Turkish Delight or Aplets & Cotlets which are somewhat popular in North America. Our theme of the week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs is In The Pink -- Pink Foods so I thought I would give Tessa's recipe for Loukoumi in her book Food From Many Greek Kitchens a try. There is a photo in the book of a beautiful plate of powdered sugar covered soft pink jelly looking candies studded with pistachios. That was what I was going for...

Loukoumi Rose Delight
adapted from Tessa Kiros -- Food From Many Greek Kitchens, notes in italic

2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons rose water
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved lengthwise (I tried halving one but it was tricky and I didn't want to cut my finger, so I just put them in a ziplock bag and hammered them gently and then sifted off the really small crumbs and kept the bigger chunks)

red food coloring (I had red, pink, and rose, wilton tub colors and decided to go with "rose" which I'm kind of sorry I did and wish I went with the pink, the rose turned into super bright in your face pink, although I did google some rose loukoumi and they were the same color mine turned out, I just liked the soft baby pink of the loukoumi in the book better personally)

1/4 cup confectioners sugar, for coating
2 tablespoons cornstarch extra, for coating

Put the sugar and lemon juice in a pan with 3/4 cup of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Simmer without stirring for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a small dab is soft and pliable between your fingers when it's dropped into cold water (soft ball stage or 240 on a candy thermometer).

Combine the cornstarch and cream of tartar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk in

1 and 1/2 cups water until smooth. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. It got very thick and pasty quickly for me, as seen below.

Slowly stir in the sugar syrup. This was really tricky, everything got all lumpy and I thought I messed it up, but I kept whisking until it came together. Simmer over very low heat until very thick and pale golden, 60 to 70 minutes. Mine did not take that long, I'd say it turned rather quickly...

Stir often to ensure that your mixture isn't sticking to the pan. Brush and 8 and 1/4 by 4 and 1/2 inch dish with straight sides with oil and line with plastic wrap. The closest thing to that size I had was a loaf pan and I couldn't visualize how that would work, so I used an 8 by 8 inch square silicone pan that I had lined with aluminum foil that I had sprayed with cooking spray. Seemed to work perfectly.

Stir in the rose water and pistachios into the mixture and add the coloring drop by drop until you have a soft rose petal pink.

Pour spread?!? into the dish and cool overnight, covered.

Combine the confectioners sugar and cornstarch on a plate. Cut the loukoumi into 1 and 1/4 inch squares and toss in the sugar mix.

It will keep for week in a covered tin or box, not an airtight container.


And there you have my first experience making loukoumi! I think I have had this candy before as a child, one of those taste induced memories was brought up when I bit into one of these. Even though I was not really happy with the color, I still thought these were pretty neat. My kids had fun watching the process and smelling the rose water and dusting them in sugar. Unfortunately these were not a hit with the kids or picky husband, although everyone was excited to try them, they didn't like them much, picky husband said "they taste like a rose, and we don't eat roses" ahh, some things are lost by him. I'm glad I had all the ingredients already in the pantry to make these. I wish I had some Greek friends to share these with because I think they are pretty good even if they weren't a new favorite for the whole family. I'd like to try them again without the food coloring, after I made these I read about a loukoumi colored and flavored with pomegranate juice, now that sounds delicious, as it was really more of a taste dislike than texture, I believe.


Heli said...

Hi.. THis really looks nice.. I am heli from I would like to invite you all to join my webpage and help me in adding feathers to my culinary hat

Dulce fresa said...

Wow very beautiful.. thanks voor sharing!

Heather S-G said...

Well, I'm totally psyched that you made these- I was wondering about them. I like rose flavor when it's ever so delicate, but I think pomegranate would be great, too. They're just SO pretty =)

NKP said...

They look perfect! I actually tried making loukoumi a couple of years ago and failed miserably - great job on yours!

Jenn said...

These look yummy to me! Maybe a dumb question, but are they hard or chewy candies? Thanks!

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Jenn, these are more soft, probably the best way I can think to describe them is like the middle of a soft jelly bean with out the crunchy outer. Hope this helps!

Jamie K said...

These look so pretty and great for Valentines!

Michelle B said...

So cool! I was curious about these. Sorry the fam didn't care for them, but I think it's awesome that your tried them out!

luckybunny said...

This was a great post! The candy looks really quite gorgeous and I enjoyed seeing the entire process... I want to try some so badly! What a great thing to try!

Deb in Hawaii said...

These are like perfect pink little jewels--so pretty! ;-)

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