Water Melon Pudding

For this weekend's home restaurants I wanted to do a small watermelon course after cheese and before dessert. I did two experiments with agar agar the seaweed that acts as a thickener but I was not happy with either of my attempts. Watermelon and agar agar do not go well together, I think their textures maybe too similar... John reminded me of a watermelon pudding I used to make–based on an old Sicilian recipe.

For the dinners I served an Asian spoon full of the pudding with a slice of fresh watermelon. I was pleased with the combination of the silky pudding and the fresh crunchy watermelon. Some recipes call for the addition of vanilla, anise, rosewater, jasmine or cinnamon. Often it is served topped with whipped cream. I might make another batch this week infused with fresh jasmine flowers from my garden.

The recipe calls for cornstarch an ingredient that I had banned from my kitchen for a few years for no legitimate reason. Recently I discovered an organic cornstarch that I used for this recipe.

1 1/2 pounds watermelon seeds and rind removed cut into chunks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup organic cornstarch

Puree watermelon in blender until smooth

In a non-reactive sauce pan combine sugar and cornstarch, slowly wisk in pureed watermelon. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, reduce heat slightly and continue cooking, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes

Pass the watermelon mixture through a fine sieve, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled.