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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Gelo di Mellone | Sicilian Watermelon Dessert Recipe

Updated: Apr 25

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!

Gelo di Mellone | Simple Italian Watermelon Dessert Recipe

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 or extract. 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:


Makes: 3-4 servings

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes, plus a few hours for cooling

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 75g (about 1/2 cup) cornstarch

  • 750ml (3 1/4 cups) pure watermelon juice (see below for making your own)

  • 75g (about 1/3 cup) sugar, adjusted to taste

  • 1/2 tsp jasmine extract (optional)

  • Cinnamon

  • 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.

Place the cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually pour in the watermelon juice while stirring with a whisk. Once the starch is blended with the juice, stir in the sugar, jasmine extract, and a pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves.

Heat the juice over low while whisking constantly. 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, preferably overnight, before topping with crushed pistachio nuts and chocolate chips.

Buon appetito!

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