Monday, August 13, 2012

Turkish Delight doughnuts

July 28, 2012

One of Maha's more well known dishes is Turkish Delight doughnuts. My incorrigible sweet tooth does extend to a fondness for Turkish Delight and the idea of these appealed to me enormously. When we visited the restaurant in May for Michael's birthday they were no longer on the menu; however head chef Shane Delia seemed to have taken on board the old "teach a man to fish..." saying, because he was giving out the recipe and samples of the dry ingredients to diners!

Browsing the internet just now, I can see that Shane's been spreading this recipe far and wide, and usually not in the exact proportions printed on the back of my dry ingredients. (If you'd like to make this, I'd recommend using the quantities on his personal website and not the ones I have below.) My rendition wasn't ideal: 
  • the dough didn't double in size over 15 minutes and I used it anyway, 
  • it was extremely sticky to handle (yours probably will be too), 
  • I didn't know the temperature of the oil and I suspect it was too hot, I had solid Delight and still very moist dough beneath a golden-brown crust,
  • this recipe makes an insanely large amount of rose honey for drizzling,
  • my honey had a very strong flavour and drowned out the doughnut, spice and pine nut flavours.
For all that whinging, this recipe did show promise. The doughnuts themselves are vegan-friendly, and they'd probably taste much better when a lighter touch is used on the honey. (I think rosewater-spiked agave nectar would make a lovely alternative for vegans.) A little citrus salad (pictured at the back) cut through the honey just fine on the night, and these were little balls of sugary comfort mid-winter.

I'm still dreaming of a floral counterpart to more conventional oozy jam doughnuts; this is a base to work from.

Turkish Delight doughnuts
(recipe from Shane Delia, of Maha
it's also on his website, with notably different quantities)
makes 8 small doughnuts

50mL rosewater
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
1 cinnamon quill
200g honey (I'd use much less in future, perhaps 50-100g)
115g plain flour
pinch of salt
8g castor sugar
2g dry yeast
115mL warm water
oil for deep frying
8 small cubes Turkish Delight (about 1cm3 each)
crushed toasted pine nuts

Place the rosewater in a small saucepan. Scrape in the vanilla pod, tossing the pod and the cinnamon quill into the rosewater. Bring it all to the boil, keeping the mixture at a high simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (this probably took me about 5 minutes). Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon, and stir the infused rosewater into the honey. Set aside for later.

Stir together the flour, salt, sugar and dry yeast. Whisk in the warm water. Let the dough stand in a warm place for 15 minutes, until doubled in size. Towards the end of this time, begin heating the oil up to 180°C.

Place a cube of Turkish delight in your hand. Pull off one-eighth of the dough and wrap it around the Turkish delight; repeat with the remaining dough and delight. (I found this quite difficult as my dough was extremely sticky.) Drop the doughnuts into the oil, perhaps in multiple batches, and cook until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.

To serve the doughnuts, drizzle them in the rose honey and sprinkle over the crushed toasted pine nuts.


  1. look forward to seeing how you go with the recipe - I don't deep fry and so the idea of doing it doesn't appeal partly because I don't know what I am doing - but this looks like a reason to learn - sounds delicious

    1. Johanna - I'm really not much of a deep-fryer either. It'll probably take months or even years for me to repeat and perfect this recipe!