Watermelon is indisputably the king of the summer fruits. Tasty? Yes! Thirst-quenching? You bet! Nutritional? Of course! The effects on our body make it a nutritional standout and a great addition to our balanced summer menu.
When we were children, eating watermelon was the one and only way to come out of the sea. The prospect of cooling down all that heat while sitting under the shadow of a tree was irresistible. Then, back in the sea again for the rest of the day.
Although a juicy, cool slice of watermelon is the best option for a hot summer day, there are many other ways to enjoy this fruit: as a smoothie, jelly, gazpacho, granita, salsa but also grilled, in a salad, cocktails etc. I have seen these recipes over and over again on the web and I am kind of bored to tell you the truth. So, I had to throw in another tasteful and fun way to enjoy watermelon. And it had to be a Mediterranean way … of course. I got to tell you, it wasn’t difficult at all. The Mediterranean cuisine is so resourceful when it comes to cooking with seasonal ingredients. Imagine you live in the 1960’s in the beautiful Greek island of Milos (men, the landscape of that island is out of that world. Check it out!). Your garden is full of juicy, sweet watermelons. You have already eaten a dozen. Ok, enough! What else could you do to enjoy it and not waste a single one? Watermelon pies!
Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the ultimate, authentic Mediterranean summer pie made by the king of summer fruits right from the island of Milos. Sugar-free version included (see the tips below).
The soil of the island of Milos, as well as the rest of the Cyclades, is dry beyond belief. It is amazing how anything green can survive the dryness and the heat of the day. However, the outcome is the sweetest watermelon you have ever tasted. These watermelons are the best first material for top-notch watermelon pies. For us, the unfortunate who don’t live in Milos, have to improvise and replicate the flavor. The best way we can. Boy, it was not easy at all. Two epic failed testing recipes (two organic watermelons wasted). Finally, I nailed it the third time!
In a nutshell, two secrets behind that traditional recipe. The sweetness of the watermelon and the crispiness of the pie. Crusty on the outside, soft in the inside. Mix the watermelon with honey, sugar (if needed) and olive oil, pour in a pan full of sesame seeds and bake. Heaven!
#1 If your watermelon is sweet don’t use sugar. Its natural sweetness and the honey may work for you. I used only one tablespoon and then I called my oldest son to taste the sweetness. Approved and good to go with only one tablespoon! Taste after every tablespoon of sugar.
#2 Bare in mind that this is a thick pie. The watermelon filling should be up to 1 inch (2.5cm) MAX (half inch recommended). Otherwise, the pie will not be baked in the center and it will come out too runny. You will have a delicious watermelon mash or jelly. Not a nice slice of shallow pie.
#3 The pie is ready when the edges are golden. Don’t panic if it is too watery in the center. It will come out just fine once it is cooled enough.
#4 Serve with some honey following the traditional way. But let’s be honest here. Yogurt, sour cream or ice cream are the absolute perfect companions. It is impossible to resist to that kind of additions. I love it for breakfast too. The perfect way to start your day!
- 5-6 cups (1kg) watermelon, without the rinds, cut in small cubes
- 0-5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + 3 teaspoons for brushing pan
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 + ⅓ cup (215g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- ⅔ cup (100g) white and black sesame
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 374° F (190°C) Fan.
- Remove seeds and rind from watermelon. Cut into pieces and place in a large bowl. Use your hand to smash/cut the pieces into smaller ones. We want a pulp with small watermelon pieces.
- Taste the pulp. If it is sweet, don’t add any sugar. If not, add one tablespoon and taste. Add as many tablespoons as you want to get the desired sweetness. Add one tablespoon olive oil, honey, cinnamon and gradually the flour. Toss to combine and dissolve the flour.
- Use up to 3 tablespoons olive oil to grease an 11 inch (28cm) pie plate or baking pan, and sprinkle half of the sesame seeds over the bottom. Pour the watermelon filling over the seeds. The filling should be about MAX 1 inch (2,5cm) thick. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over the top and cinnamon (optional).
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour in the preheated oven. It is ready when golden and crispy around the edges. It remains soft in the center.
- Allow cooling completely before slicing. Refrigerate leftovers.
- Serve with some honey, yogurt, sour cream or ice cream.