An established chef and restaurateur, Shane Delia probably didn’t expect to find himself in Fethiye, Turkey, being schooled by elderly ladies in a small village.

“Fethiye is the breadbasket of Turkey, where all this amazing produce is grown, and there are some really cool things that come from there. One of those things is Turkish delight, and the other is pekmez, which is a great molasses.”

During his trip there, the old ladies in the village showed the Maha chef how to make an unusual type of Turkish delight using semolina.

“It reminded me of this recipe I already had for candied pumpkin. I tried it with this technique, and it worked a treat. We’re serving it at Maha now. It’s unique and it’s really easy to put together.”

Note: There are two elements to this dish. Create the candied pumpkin puree first.

Candied pumpkin puree

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What you’ll need:

1 large jap pumpkin, skin on, seeds removed, cut in quarters
3l water
3kg sugar
10 cloves
4 cardamom pods
3 sticks cinnamon
5 star anise
1 pod vanilla
1 bay leaf


Bring water, sugar and spices to the boil. Add pumpkin and simmer until just soft. Remove from heat, cool in the sugar stock and store in the fridge, covered in the stock, for a minimum of three days (the longer the better). Remove the pumpkin and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Puree the flesh and reserve stock for later use.

Candied Pumpkin Turkish Delight

What you’ll need:

750g candied pumpkin puree (see previous recipe)
300ml water
450ml sugar stock (from the pumpkin)
300g fine semolina
100g butter
60g roasted walnuts, roughly crushed
80ml orange-blossom water
150g icing sugar
150g corn flour


Boil together pumpkin puree, water and sugar stock. Stir the semolina into the boiled pumpkin mix and cook until the semolina grains have fully dissolved and the mix is smooth. This should take about 10 minutes. Make sure you are continually stirring the mixture so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Tip: use a non-stick pan and a rubber, heat-proof spatula.

Remove from pot and place in a KitchenAid with a paddle attachment and beat until cool while slowly adding the cold butter to the mix. Fold through the walnuts and orange blossom.

Place in a greased, high-sided tin and allow to cool at room temp until totally cooled. Turn out, cut and dust in a mixture of icing sugar and corn flour.

Shane Delia is hosting a masterclass with Steps Australia on Wednesday July 23 at Hobba at 6.30pm. Broadsheet readers can claim a $69 discount, simply by heading to the Eventbrite page and entering the promotional code “Broadsheet”.

For more cooking with Shane Delia, tune into Spice Journey on SBS at 7.30pm from July 31.