Carrot & Nut Dessert: Cezerye

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If you're a fan of lokum (Turkish delight) I recommend this dessert as a great homemade alternative. It requires just four ingredients: carrots, walnuts, sugar, and coconut flakes (optional).

While a four- ingredient dessert sounds pretty easy, to be honest, it took me three rounds of experimentation (and a lot of carrots) to get this recipe right. Timing is everything in this recipe, but unfortunately no directions can replace your cooking intuition. Don't let that discourage you though, because once you figure out the right point to remove the carrots from the heat, you'll be able to make them again and again!


Recipe: 

Makes about 20- store in airtight container  1  week- room temperature

3 cups grated carrots*
1 cup water (235 ml)
1 cup sugar (200 grams)
¼ cup walnuts or pistachios, finely chopped (30 grams)
½ cup coconut flakes (sub: ¼ cup chopped nuts) (40 grams)

*Use a volume ratio of 3:1:1 for carrots:water:sugar (if you don't have measuring cups, just use one container to measure out these ingredients in that ratio)

  1. Place grated carrots, water, and sugar in a wide, shallow (non-stick) pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat and continue cooking uncovered on low heat. Cook for about 40 minutes until moisture is gone and the mixture becomes sticky. You will be able to feel this by pinching some of it between your fingers (or remove a small bit into a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to check how it comes together). If it is not sticking together, continue to cook on low heat, checking the consistency every 5 or so minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts, and transfer to parchment or wax paper lined tray to cool (~1 hr).
  4. Shape into balls or squares, then roll in coconut flakes or chopped nuts.

If you have over-cooked the mixture, it will harden when it dries (sugars crystallize) and you will not be able to shape it into balls. It will still taste good though! :)


Tips & Additional Information:

  • Other possible add-ins: raisins, spices (cinnamon, clove), pistachios.
  • You can shape them into bars too if you prefer them that way.
  • Under-cooking these will cause them to not be chewy and stick together well.