So far we have made a point of presenting recipes that are mainstays of Umbrian cuisine. In the heat and height of summer, however, we felt that it was practically imperative that we include a recipe from considerably further south.

Gelo di Anguria,  known originally as Gelo di Melone, is a watermelon custard with origins in Sicily. Melone (or rather, it’s dialectic equivalent muluni) is the Sicilian word for watermelon, while anguria is  used on the mainland. During the summer months, this velvety red custard is found everywhere, often perfumed with jasmine and garnished with pistachios and dark chocolate. It is an elegant, surprising, and cooling desert, perfect for an outdoor party

It is very simple to make, though it can be a bit messy to juice the watermelon.

Gelo di Anguria


  • 4 Cups of watermelon juice (about half of a medium round watermelon)
  • ½ Cup Cornstarch
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • ½ cup jasmine water (jasmine flowers steeped in hot water and strained, optional)
  • Chopped pistachios (garnish)
  • Chopped or shaved Dark chocolate (top quality)


Cube the watermelon and use the method of your choice to extract its juice. Strain to remove seeds and threads (though pulp is fine) removing the easiest seeds. A food mill is a good choice for this, passing the cubed fruit first through the largest die to pulp the flesh before switching to a finer mesh to catch seeds. If you don’t have a food mill, briefly pulse the watermelon in a food processor to liquefy it, and then strain through a fine mesh sieve or a pasta strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth.

Combine the cornstarch and sugar in a large pot, then whisk in the juice and jasmine water (if desired). Heat over medium until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Combine the juice, cornstarch, sugar, and jasmine water (if desired) in a pot and heat over medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Allow the mixture to cool completely while you prepare your method of serving it. A classic presentation is to pour the cooled liquid into ramekins or dessert dishes, then chill the mixture to set it.The mixture can also be poured into a blind-baked crostata shell. Before serving, garnish with crushed pistachios and dark chocolate.

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