Much like lemons and eggplant, watermelon was first introduced to Sicily during Arab rule in the 9th century. Grown in abundance on the island today, the luscious melon has become a staple in Sicilian summertime cuisine. The sweet, hydrating fruit is readily available in markets throughout the summer, and is enthusiastically enjoyed in frozen granitas. Turning watermelon into a more elevated dessert, gelo di melone is, however, one of the most popular ways to enjoy the pink treat. Carefully cooked down, strained, and cooled into a beautiful pudding and garnished with bitter-sweet chocolate to imitate seeds, this watermelon pudding is a great way to try something new with the beloved summer fruit.
SICILIAN WATERMELON PUDDING
For the pudding
▢ 4 cups fresh watermelon
▢ 3 tbsp cornstarch
▢ 1/3 cup granulated sugar
▢ 1 cinnamon stick
For the garnishes
▢ 1 cup heavy whipping cream
▢ Pinch of sea salt
▢ 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Puree the watermelon in a blender.
- Place 1 cup of the blended watermelon into a bowl with the cornstarch. Whisk to combine until there are no lumps.
- Place the remaining watermelon juice, sugar and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and use a spatula to stir constantly. Add the watermelon/cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. Roughly 10 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer and allow to cool slightly. Pour into your desired serving dishes (ramekins, coup glasses, etc.) and place in the refrigerator to cool completely for at least 4 hours.
- When you’re ready to serve, make a whipped cream by adding heavy cream, salt and sugar to a bowl. Whisk until it reaches your desired consistency. One good indication that the cream is ready is that it will hold a ribbon-like texture when you whisk. You don’t want to over whisk as this will turn the cream into the clumpy startings of butter.
- Serve the watermelon pudding with a dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle with chopped chocolate, pistachio and bee pollen.