Gelo di Mellone

Written by on June 1, 2020

Gelo di Mellone

Gelo di Mellone is a classic ‘dolce’, or dessert, from Palermo. Probably derived from the arab culture, it is loved by anyone in the family, especially if made according to Mamma’s or Nonna’s secret recipe. It works better with the giant watermelons, full of colour, taste and juices, ripening in the sicilian sun and getting ready to eat in the summer months.

You can also try it at home wherever you are. The secret, when you buy a watermelon, is to tap on the outside and feel a gentle ripping vibe inside, like a small wave, indicating the ‘mellone’ is ready, sweet and full of juice.

Here’s the secret recipe from Nonna Teta, from a secret book of recipes transmitted from generation to generation of sicilian mammas:

1 litre of watermelon juice

6 to 8 tablespoons of caster sugar

68 grams of starch

some cinnamon,

some ‘jasmine water’ ( made by letting a bunch of freshly picked jasmins in a glass of water overnight)

mix all together and cook on slow fire until you achieve the right thickening. This is approximately 5-10 minutes after the mix starts bubbling

Gelo is then cooled in the fridge and served cold in glasses – you can also pour the warm liquid in glasses and freeze those.  you can add chocolate drops and ground pistachios on top

The more complicated version – really if you have a lot of time in your hands – in the video includes:

Pan di Spagna – a  sponge cake thinly sliced and covering the bottom of a deep dish

There are plenty of recipes online, often under ‘italian sponge cake’.

On top of the Pan di Spagna base, a spread of

A mix of 200 grams pistachios ( peel the skin after boiling them for five minutes)

Plus 200 grams ‘zuccata’ – candied squash or a jam made of  local marrows (green and long, sometimes we find them at ethnic shops) – (this is quite bland and I would be tempted to just ignore it or use candied fruit)

once you prepare the base, you pour the hot ‘gelo’ on top and wait until it settles in the fridge.  As before, you can add jasmins, pistachios and chocolate drops on top. Enjoy.

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