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Pumpkin, Turkish delight and tahini ice-cream recipe

Pumpkin, Turkish delight and tahini ice-cream in a serving dish

I love the way the ladies I met made sucuk pekmez. Thickening the molasses with semolina made me think about what other fruits or vegetables I could use the same technique with. The sweetness of the pumpkin made me think it would be an easy substitute for the pekmez and it turned out to be a great dish. The orange blossom snow really made it feel like a Turkish delight and also represented the snowcapped mountains of Fethiye.

Serves 8-10
Preparation 1hr
Cooking 30min
Skill level Mid

Shane Delia


Tahini ice-cream

450 ml milk
6 egg yolks
70 g sugar
2 tbsp tahini

Pumpkin and walnut Turkish delight

150 g snow sugar (see Note)
150 g corn flour
750 g candied spiced pumpkin, pureed
450 ml sugar syrup (see Note)
300 g fine semolina
300 ml water
100 g unsalted butter
60 g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Simit biscuit

40 g milk
60 g sugar
25 trimoline (see Note)
85 g unsalted butter
20 g plain flour
50 g white sesame seeds
50 g black sesame seeds

Orange blossom snow

400 g Maltosec (see Note)
50 ml orange blossom water
80 g icing sugar, sifted

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 3-4 hours

Freezing time overnight

You need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

To make the tahini ice-cream, I would normally prepare the anglaise (custard) in the restaurant using a Thermomix. To do so, place the milk, egg yolks and sugar in a Thermomix set to 80°C, and blend on speed 4 for 7 minutes. When the time as elapsed, blend on speed 7 for 5 seconds, then pass through a fine sieve into a jug, cool, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled.

To make the anglaise the old-fashioned way, bring the milk to the boil and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, then slowly pour in the hot milk, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking continuously until the mixture reaches 80°C. Transfer the anglaise to a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug, cool, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled.

Transfer the custard to an ice-cream machine. Add the tahini and churn according to manufacturers’ instructions. Freeze overnight or until firm.

Meanwhile, to make the pumpkin Turkish delight, line a 20 cm x 30 cm baking tin with baking paper. Combine the snow sugar and cornflour in a bowl, then place in a sieve and dust the base of the tin heavily with the mixture. This will stop the Turkish delight sticking when you cut it.  Place the pumpkin, syrup and water in a heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat and whisk occasionally until you reach boiling point. Whisk in the semolina and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is thick and smooth. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 1 minute or until smooth. With the motor running, add the butter a little at a time and continue beating until the mixture is cool. At the very end, add the walnuts and mix to just combine - you don’t want to crush them up too much. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and flatten it out evenly. Dust the top heavily with the snow sugar mixture and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set. 

To make the simit biscuit, preheat the oven to 170°C. Place the milk, sugar, glucose and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture reaches 106°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat, add the flour and sesame seeds and combine well. Pour the mixture onto lined baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes or until firm. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool and then break into shards.

To make the orange blossom snow, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand until you achieve a powdered consistency.

To serve, cut the Turkish delight into 4 cm squares and place a piece in the middle of each bowl. Add the simit biscuit off centre, a scoop of ice-cream in the middle, then finish with the orange blossom snow. Serve immediately.


• Snow sugar is a combination of icing sugar, cornflour, vegetable fat and dextrose favoured by bakers and pastry chefs because it doesn’t dissolve when dusted on baked goods. Available from cake decorating stores and select delicatessens.

• To make sugar syrup, combine 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, cool, then refrigerate until needed.

 • Trimoline, also known as an invert sugar, this thick syrup is made by adding acid to sugar syrup. It is sweeter, less prone to moisture loss and less likely to crystalise than sucrose which makes it ideal for making ice-creams, sorbets and confectionary. Available from baking suppliers or specialist food stores. Alternatively, you can make your own by combining 3 kg sugar with 1 litre water and 3-4 g citric acid in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cool.

• Maltosec, also known as maltodextrin, is a powder derived from tapioca. It has the ability to absorb fats and convert them into a paste or powder and is also used as a bulking agent and to stabilise high fat ingredients. Available from specialist food stores.

From sbs.com.au

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