When life gives you a lemon OR in this case 3.8kg of over ripe watermelon, make some watermelon jus.
Having bought a whole watermelon to see me through the week, I was bitterly disappointed to discover it was well beyond ripe. Not wanting to throw the watermelon out, I reasoned I could salvage my “lemon” and try my hand at making a batch of Watermelon Panna Cotta.
However 3.8kg is a lot of watermelon for the amount of panna cotta I wanted to make. After some creative reckoning, I figured I could transform the mushy fruit into a jus.
The combination of coconut cream, gelatin and watermelon jus worked beautifully in creating a deliciously creamy dessert that still managed to tick the box for healthy and nutritious eating.
Chop the watermelon into chunks and transfer to a large saucepan.
Add the cinnamon, rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. Using a hand blender puree the watermelon until smooth. I used 4 tablespoons of rice malt syrup as I don’t like overly sweet desserts however, vary the amount accordingly to your personal taste.
Bring the watermelon puree to the boil and leave on high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce to a low heat and simmer until the puree reduces in volume.
Puree the watermelon, rice malt syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon, bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture has reduced and is thick and has a jam like consistency and texture.
The time required may vary depending on how much watermelon you use. However you should aim at making a cup’s worth. The consistency should be thick and almost jam like in texture.
Remove from heat and cool. Strain the puree through a muslin cloth so you are left with watermelon jus. Sprinkle the gelatin into the jus and stir until thoroughly combined.
Place the coconut cream and the watermelon jus into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Transfer to ramekins or cup cake cases and place into the refrigerator to set for a couple of hours.
Just before serving, remove each panna cotta from its ramekin or cup cake case and decorate with watermelon pieces and garnish with some sprigs of basil.
Just before serving garnish the watermelon panna cotta with some Italian and Thai basil and some fresh watermelon pieces.