Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recipe: Watermelon Mousse Pie


A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp. – Raymond Duncan

An unusual – and refreshing – pie.
What defines summer when you’re growing up? Camping, barbecues, picnics, swimming at the beach, the sound of crickets in the hay… I’m sure you have a long list of your own memories.

As far as food goes, a significant memory for me is watermelon. That cool, sweet, juicy treat that is also so messy to eat was very special for us to have, and only in summertime. Now it’s available almost year-round, but most of the time at unbelievably high prices.

The pie crust recipe below is a bit
unusual and works well. Very flaky.
But now it’s actually starting to be in season locally, or soon will be.

I offer this recipe to you as a very interesting – and unexpected – summer dessert. It’s a strange one to be sure. One doesn’t often think of watermelon as a pie filling, but it works, and works well.

This recipe is for a “mousse” pie, a set filling of juice/purée and whipped cream. As such it’s very light. It also tastes amazingly strongly of watermelon.

I made this when I was visiting my mother and although we didn’t get to try the pie (because it has to set overnight) we did get to test the filling. There was enough to fill the pie plus two small ramekins.

The first thing she said was “I could see this with peaches.” I don’t know if that was a critique of my watermelon, or vision for the possibilities making “fruit juice” mousse.

If you are so inclined, you could certainly swap the watermelon out for other fruit. Think of it: mango, pomegranate, raspberry…peach.

Essentially all you need is 2 cups of purée (or juice). That’s what 1 packet (1 tablespoon) of gelatine sets.

I would suggest making the watermelon if you like the taste of this summer fruit. It’s an extremely unusual and unexpected flavour!


2 cups of "purée" ended up being this much watermelon.
Way more than I expected.
Watermelon Mousse Pie
Total time: overnight  |  Serves: 8
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour, plus additional flour for rolling 
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup lard or shortening
1/2 tsp salt 
1egg
1 teaspoons vinegar 
1 tbsp ice cold water

2 cups watermelon puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp powdered gelatine*
1-1/2 cup whipping cream
whipping cream for on top (optional)


Make the pie crust by combining the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the lard to the size of peas. Mix the egg, vinegar and water together and add to the dough. 

Crust ready? Check. Filling cooling? Check.
(It helps to refrigerate the filling to speed it along...)
Mix until just brought together. (Do not “maul” it.) Roll out the dough to fit a 9” pie plate. Place in the pie plate and form a decorative edge.

Prick the bottom and sides well with a fork. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Press the watermelon flesh through a sieve to remove the seeds. The result will look like watermelon “water” as opposed to purée. That’s fine. Add the lemon juice, sugar and 1 tbsp of gelatine and bring just to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and refrigerate.

Keep checking periodically until the mixture begins to thicken, but is not set solid. This may take several hours.

Sprinkle the second tablespoon of gelatine on top of the cream. Let soften for 3-4 minutes. Whip the cream and fold in to the watermelon mixture. Then pour the filling into the pie shell and refrigerate overnight.

* Agar agar can be used instead of the gelatine as a vegetarian substitute. Use it 1 for 1 (1 tbsp gelatine = 1 tbsp agar agar).

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