Where did Custard Mastic Gum (Sakızlı Muhallebi) come from?
First we want to talk about gum mastic. It has a special history that most of us have any idea. Let us talk about the gum mastic tree before everything. There are lots of rumors about it as you know. According to mythology, there is belief that because of gum mastic tree is always green, they believe that it is curative and immortal. So touching gum mastic trees cause heavy punishments. According to story, in Genoese society, stealing gum mastic resin means accepting the death in the first place. People who stole gum resins up to 7 kg faced with the punishment of cutting nose and ears, up to 50 kg they faced with the punishment of losing a hand or leg or an eye. If somebody steals more that 50 kg, the punishment was losing head. So gum mastic tree and its resin was that precious.
In 1560, Turks conquered the Mastic Gum Island and gum mastic get in to Ottoman Cuisine with this event. Since the first meet in Ottoman kitchen, it only has a perfect harmony with Muhallebi (custard). According to researches, villages who produced mastic gum became richer than others. So trees put under protection and producers go on their productions without paying any tax.
Now mastic gum trees can be found in Alaçatı, Çeşme, Muğla, Marmaris often.
Ok, now it is time to talk about the mastic gum itself. It is a kind resin what can be found in mastic gum tree. So this taste appears from resin to get harder. But the process is pretty tough. In September and October, tree crusts get shaved. Little holes opens on tree trunk so resin comes out of the tree. These resins gathered, after some processes dries under the sun light. So it became crystallize, then all the alien materials gets off easily. And it is ready to put in some food and desserts.