Exotic Watermelon Pudding from Sicily

Watermelons are a typical, and beloved, conclusion to an American summer grill party. In Sicily, watermelons are also popular eaten in their raw state as well as being the main ingredient in an amazing sweet pudding for dessert.

The main ingredients of this Sicilian gelu ‘i muluni, watermelon pudding, were all introduced by Arab farmers and traders of medieval Sicily a thousand years ago– the watermelon, cinnamon, jasmine, candied orange, and pistachios.  It is often served at the festival of Santa Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo.  The traditional recipe calls for jasmine water and cucuzzata (candied squash), and the pudding is garnished with jasmine flowers.

Gelo di Melone
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Sicilian
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 1 very ripe watermelon (about 8 pounds)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate bits
  • ½ cup candied orange peel, diced very small
  • ¼ cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped
  • Jasmine flowers for garnish (optional)
  1. Remove the pulp from the melon and take out the seeds. You should have about 5 pounds of pulp. Liquefy the pulp in a food processor in batches. Measure 5 cups of the watermelon juice and set aside. You can save the remainder for making watermelon sorbetto.
  2. In a saucepan, stir the sugar and cornstarch together and over medium-low heat, slowly add the watermelon juice, stirring constantly, until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Cook, stirring, until the pudding begins to boil, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, rose water, and vanilla. The pudding will be thick and velvety.
  3. Let cool completely. Add the chocolate bits and candied orange peel. Wet 8 to 10 individual ramekins, dessert bowls or molds and pour the mixture in. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. Unmold or leave in the bowls or molds and serve garnished with chopped pistachios and a jasmine flower, if available.
  4. Variation: Pour the watermelon pudding into a large serving bowl for a dramatic effect.


Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe:  

Site maintained by StudioSJS