Today’s recipe is your salvation from weeks full of cookie eating. This super-fresh Sicilian Watermelon Pudding is the perfect respite from rich and abundant holiday meals. Though the pudding is lean in nature, it has a satisfyingly silky texture, and it is just sweet enough to close dinner on a festive note. Sicilian Watermelon Pudding can also serve as a pre-dessert as part of a more elaborate menu; its bright flavor will act as a palate-cleanser and open your guests’ appetite for an indulgent dessert to follow.
Watermelon Pudding (or gelo di melone, in Italian) originates from Palermo, Sicily, where it is considered an elegant way to use the abundant summer watermelon crops. The pudding is traditionally infused with jasmine and garnished with pistachios or shaved chocolate. While watermelon is indeed usually considered a summer fruit, it is available all year long. Sure, watermelon may be slightly more expensive this time of year, but you get so much fruit—and so many servings—for the price you pay. Plus, watermelon is versatile: you can enjoy it in sweet and savory desserts or in smoothies and cocktails—which may or may not be my favorite way of enjoying watermelon.
So back to this Sicilian Watermelon Pudding: as I was planning this “tiny sweets” recipe lineup, I wanted to add a leaner option, but I was looking for an option completely different than what you’ll usually see on holiday tables. Watermelon pudding’s gorgeous coral color, topped with a cloud of whipped cream, and sprinkled with bright green pistachios—I ask you, what dessert looks more festive than that? Of course, you can forgo the whipped cream if you want, but adding just a touch makes the pudding better suited for winter meals.
One last thing: Sicilian Watermelon Pudding is very quick and easy to make, so it’s an excellent last-minute dessert option. It’s also the dessert you should make if you feel exhausted but still want to serve something tasty to your guests. Feel free to double or triple the recipe, depending on the number of guests you’re expecting—and your energy levels.
Makes 4 servings.
Watermelon pudding is an easy dessert with a silky texture and bright taste. The perfect treat when you're looking for a leaner, but satisfying dessert.
15 minPrep Time
15 minTotal Time
Puree the watermelon in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup, discarding remaining solids. You should have just about 3 cups (750 ml) watermelon juice.
Ladle 2 tbsp (30 ml) watermelon juice into a small bowl and stir in the cornstarch, until smooth.
Pour the remaining watermelon juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes to reduce it a little. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture again, then whisk into the watermelon juice. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes, when whisk in the lemon juice.
Pour the pudding through a clean sieve and into a measuring cup, then transfer to small glass jars or ramekins. Cover and chill until set, at least 3 hours.
Serve the puddings topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with pistachios.
The Sicilian Watermelon puddings will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.
This post was created in partnership with the National Watermelon Promotion Board as part of their #EatMoreWatermelon campaign. I was offered monetary compensation to develop a delicious recipe using watermelon. As always, companies never dictate what recipes I create, or the opinions I express. I only use products I genuinely believe in. For more information about sponsored posts, please read my Disclosure Policy. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Food Nouveau running!
It’s Tiny Sweets Week!
Check out the other holiday-inspired bite-sized recipes in this series: