It may be the end of August, but we are still in the 90F range here in Washington, which means summer is still on! To me, no food speaks more loudly of summer than watermelon. The sole thought of it brings to mind images of sunny beaches or shadowy fragrant orchards, of days spent in idleness where the only legitimate activity is enjoying one watery mouthful of red pulp after the other. Long story short, when summer begins I ritually become addicted to watermelon, in all its forms.
This year my summery obsession has reached an all-time high, because I discovered how to make watermelon pudding. I kid you not, you can turn watermelon into a deliciously refreshing pudding, and it is actually quite an easy thing to do.
The recipe comes from the Italian tradition, more precisely from Sicily, where there is certainly no lack of watermelon, nor of grudging sun. It is known in Sicily under the name of gelo d’anguria (literally: watermelon ice), but you should not expect anything like a watermelon ice cream or sorbet. It is more like a cold pudding that melts in your mouth and reveals what is hidden underneath its glossy red surface.
Ingredients (for 5):
- 1 litre (4 cups) watermelon juice
- 80g sugar (1/3 cup)
- 90g cornstarch (abt. 9 tablespoons)
- pistachios or almond (chopped)
- dark chocolate (chopped; or chocolate chips if you prefer)
- cinnamon to garnish
- Peel, chop and blend enough watermelon to get 1 litre of juice. A juicer is the perfect tool for the job, but you can also just blend well the watermelon and strain it through a fine sieve. One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of pulp in the juice will determine how smooth your pudding is.
- Pour the juice in a saucepan, add the cornstarch and mix until perfectly dissolved, then add the sugar. Dosing the sugar in this recipe depends very much on your own taste and on how sweet your watermelon is, so don’t hesitate to deviate from the amount suggested.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens (normally this will take about 10 minutes), then let the mixture rest until it cools down. Fold in the chopped pistachios or almonds and the chocolate, then pour into ice-cream bowls or moulds.
- Let the bowls rest in the fridge until the mixture has assumed the consistency of a pudding, which will take at least a couple of hours. When servig, sprinkle some cinnamon and add some more chopped pistachios/almonds and chocolate on top of the puddings.