06 August 2013

Watermelon Rind Pie

Yes, you've read it right - watermelon rind pie!

I just couldn't wait until summer to share this new (to me anyway) recipe with you. I even splurged and bought 2 kilos of watermelon ($1/kg - ouch!) to try it and it is just delicious. Mind you winter watermelon is a little lacking in flavour - just letting you know.

This recipe caught my eye on the Mother Earth News Real Food blog because it fits perfectly in my no waste kitchen plan. We love watermelon and grow a few each summer to enjoy icy cold from the fridge or the esky when it's really, really hot. There is nothing nicer than a watermelon slushy for afternoon tea.

But that rind. I grew up being told to never eat the rind, to always leave a little layer of the pretty pink fruit or I'd end up with a terrible, horrible bellyache. And so I've never eaten the watermelon down to the rind, I've never until now even tried it.

No one told me I could make a pie from it, and love it, and not end up with a bellyache.

But I'll tell you. You can eat the watermelon rind, cooked in a pie. It's delicious. And frugal. And another great thing to not waste.

Watermelon Rind Pie

Shortcrust pastry - enough for a two crust pie (or two sheets ready-made shortcrust)
3 cups peeled and diced watermelon rind
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup sultanas
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Granulated sugar

If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

Combine the watermelon rind and ¼ cup of the white sugar in a large saucepan. Add water just to cover. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and continue to boil until the rind is tender and translucent, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, then transfer the rind to a large bowl and cool.

Roll half the pastry into a thin 30cm circle. Line a 22cm pie dish with pastry to form a pie shell. Chill for 15 minutes. While the pastry is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Stir the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar into the cooled rind. Stir in the sultanas, nuts, vinegar and brown sugar, then stir in the flour, spices and salt.

Roll the other half of dough into a 25cm circle. Put the filling into the chilled pie shell, smoothing the top with a spoon. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell. Invert the top pastry over the filling, centre and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Trim the pastry with scissors or a paring knife, leaving an even 1cm overhang all around, then sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Poke several steam vents into the top of the pie with a fork or paring knife; put a couple of the vents near the edge of the crust so you can check the juices there. To glaze the pie, lightly brush the pastry with the beaten egg white and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.

Place the pie on the centre oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees and rotate the pie 180 degrees, so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Just in case, slide a large aluminum-foil lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills. Continue to bake until the top is dark golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. This is not a particularly juicy pie, so you may or may not see juices bubbling up through the steam vents.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

When you peel the rind, be sure to remove all of the outermost skin with a sharp peeler, since it’s the toughest part of the skin. Don’t undercook the rind, thinking that it will soften further as it bakes. Because of the vinegar in the filling, this isn’t likely to happen.

This pie has a fruit mince like texture to it, just right for serving during watermelon season (aren't we lucky watermelon season is also Christmas and holidays here in Australia?).

I can't wait until summer to make it again.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cath like you I was always told as a child not to eat the rind as it would make me sick..some times I wonder where people here this rubbish in the first place..years latter as an adult I read some where you can juice the whole lot..I used to make water melon juice with the skin,rind,flesh and seeds..yum...lots of healthy chlorophyll..did you know that the seeds are very good for men's prostates.. having 3 sons and partner Kev, I would often blend up some water melon and say it's great for your prostrates...or you could call it a prostate cocktail...Like you I like to use up as much of things if I can, why waste it especially if it's nutritious...there is also a recipe to make passion fruit skin jam in one of my cook books ...how cool is that..I've never tried it though...


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