Gelo di Melone – Sicilian Waternelon Jello is a natural way of making jello – a Sicilian favorite! This homemade jello has way more flavor than any box brand you use.
This is a traditional Sicilian dessert, especially served during the festival of Ferragosto. I have celebrated Ferragosto here in the Bronx’s Little Italy several times, but never noticed this treat. I did not have the opportunity to attend this year because I was working, but I am definitely going to try to attend next year and will be on the lookout for Gelo di Melone and see how mine compares.
This treat is a result of Sicily being under Arab rule from the 9th-11th centuries. Sicily is a unique fusion culture of both Christian and Arab cultural traditions, especially on the western part of the island where the Arab influence remains strong to this day. This dessert is one example of how the multi-cultural island creates culinary synergy.
…but before we get to today’s recipe, let’s check out some other Italian treats…
- Italian Orange Cake
- Gubana – Sweet Bread
- Fiorentini – #GlutenFree Chocolate Cookies
- Tuscan Coffee Cake
- Sbrisilona – Almond Cookie Cake
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE SICILIAN WATERMELON GELO
This is a great summertime treat – when juicy watermelon’s are readily available everywhere!
This jello does not firm as tightly as store bought packaged jello you might be used to, but the taste is far superior with fresh watermelon juice, instead of artificial colors and flavors.
Gelo di Melone – Sicilian Watermelon Gelatin
- 2 3/4 cups watermelon puree strained
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon jasmine extract or rose
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 skinny cinnamon stick
- shelled pistacchios garnish
- grated chocolate garnish
- candied fruit optional garnish
- In a small bowl, pour about 1/3 cup of the watermelon puree. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
- Combine with the rest of the watermelon puree in a saucepan. Add sugar, jasmine, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Rinse 4 ramekins, but do not dry them. This will make it easier to remove from the molds after they chill.
- Divide the watermelon among 4 ramekins. Put in refrigerator and chill overnight.
- Unmold the jello and garnish with the pistacchios, chocolate and candied fruit, if using.