Gelo di "Mellone" | Sicilian Watermelon Dessert Recipe
A classic summertime Sicilian treat, gelo di mellone is a simple but outstanding dessert. The classic preparation is made with watermelon but you can use other juicy fruit, such as lemon, orange or strawberries!
You can also use the gelo as a filling in a pre-baked pie shell to make an otherworldly "crostata," although you may want to double the recipe below to be safe. It's also worth noting that, traditionally, the dish is flavored with jasmine leaves. Go for it if you have access to them, otherwise we've replaced them below with cinnamon and cloves.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- 750ml (3 1/4 cups) pure watermelon juice (see below for making your own)
- 75g (about 1/2 cup) corn starch
- 75g (about 1/3 cup) sugar, adjusted to taste
- Ground cloves
- Chopped pistachio nuts for topping (optional)
- Chocolate chips for topping (optional)
To make your own watermelon juice, we recommend starting with 1/2 a large melon, which we've found to yield about the right amount (results may vary). Either use a juicer or a blender to extract the juice. If you use a blender, simply pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp.
Pour 2/3 of the juice (500ml) into a small sauce pan and set the rest aside. Add the sugar into the sauce pan, along with a pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves.
Whisk the remaining juice with the corn starch in a bowl.
Place the sauce pan over low heat. As it comes up to temp, gradually pour in the juice/cornstarch mixture while whisking constantly.
Continue to stir throughout the entire thickening process. It can take up to 15 minutes, but eventually the juice will thicken into a custard-like consistency.
Once the gelo has thickened substantially, pour equal amounts into 3-4 small carafes. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before topping with crushed pistachio nuts and chocolate chips and serving.
If you like, you can also flip the carafes onto a plate to serve the gelo standing free!