Monday, July 9, 2012

Watermelon Daiquiri Pie

A cool, refreshing summer pie that requires no baking! Like a tropical drink in a pie, this is perfect for those hot summer evenings when you don't want a heavy dessert. If you want to read about how I came up with this recipe out of error and experimentation, read on. Or just skip to the end for the recipe itself.

This Watermelon Daiquiri Pie is a perfect example of how a mistake can end up leading you to something unexpectedly good. I started out ready to make the Watermelon Chiffon Pie recipe from Ken Haedrich's book Pie (a great book, by the way). But I found that two things made me tweak it: First, I had run out of eggs, and the recipe called for two beaten egg whites. I am someone who ALWAYS has eggs in the house, so I hadn't even thought to double-check, and here I was totally out. I could run to the store, but with two kids in tow there is just no such thing as a quick trip to the store. I had lots to do that day and couldn't take 40 minutes out to go to the store. I weighed my options - put off the pie for another day? No, I decided that although it would not be a true chiffon pie, it would probably still set up without the egg whites, just with a denser, creamier texture. And it was the perfect time to experiment, because this pie was not for any special event, but just for us. So I gambled. But then I came to another hurdle: when I cut up my watermelon, I found that it was not as ripe and flavorful as it should have been. Again, I could have gone to the store and bought another, but instead I decided to go with it and improvise. Here is what I did:

I simply omitted the egg whites. Knowing that some people do not like to eat raw egg whites, I wondered if this might lead to a good chiffon pie alternative (F.Y.I. - you can buy pasteurized egg whites that are safe to use raw if you want to). Then, to remedy the lack of flavor from my sadly underripe melon, I poked around my cabinets to see what I had. I came up with coconut extract and Rum. Taking an idea from a recipe I have for Margarita pie, I replaced 1/4 cup of the watermelon juice with rum. There was already lime juice in the original recipe, and I added a touch of zest with the juice. So with the lime and rum, it became a Daquiri pie! Adding a teaspoon of coconut extract gave it another layer of tropical flavor. Now you could call it a colada-daquiri pie, but that name would be pushing it too far.

I didn't expect to get the chunks and streaks of watermelon and cream, I thought it would be more of a smooth uniform color. Perhaps I had waited too long to fold the whipped cream into the watermelon gelatin mixture. But anyway, my husband said he liked to see the bits in the finished pie. Okay, but how would it taste after these changes? Surprisingly, we loved it! Although I am sure Ken Haedrich's Watermelon Chiffon Pie is excellent, I think I will stick with this flukey recipe instead - it was really good!

Watermelon Daquiri Pie

1 recipe Graham cracker crust
Note: Omit the sugar and just use the graham crackers, since this filling is sweet. Chill the crust to set it instead of  baking it - for this pie I like the slightly crumblier texture of the chilled crust.

1 Watermelon
3/4 - 1 Cup of sugar (to taste)
2 Envelopes unflavored gelatin
Juice of 1 whole lime
Zest of 1 whole lime
1/4 cup Rum (Malibu Coconut Rum is good, or any white rum)
1 Cup chilled heavy cream
Up to 1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Before you start, put the mixing bowl and whisk that you are going to use to whip the cream into the freezer.

Cut up the watermelon into small chunks. (I like to do the whole watermelon, even though for this recipe you only need 1/2 to 2/3 of it. But I like to make lots of juice and use it in smoothies or other drinks. If you would rather save some for eating, just use 6 cups of watermelon pieces together with only 1/3 cup sugar).

In a very large bowl, put all the chunks together with 3/4 - 1 Cup Sugar. Mash it all up with a potato masher and then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Give it another good mashing after that 20 minutes, and then strain the liquid into another bowl. Measure out 2 1/2 Cups of the liquid and set aside. Save the rest of the liquid in a tupperware in the fridge or freezer for other drinks. Throw out the leftover pulp and seeds.

Put 1/3 Cup of the watermelon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Dissolve for about 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of the leftover juice until it is nearly boiling. Whisk this hot juice into the gelatin to dissolve it. Pour the remainder of the juice into a bowl and add the gelatin juice into it. Add the lime juice, zest, and rum. Chill this mixture, checking it every 6-8 minutes to see when it is starting to gel. You want to catch it when it is chilled and just starting to set up. While you are waiting for it to chill, put your heavy cream in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Then take the bowl, whisk and cream out and whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add in the cofectioner's sugar (up to 1 cup, to taste) and the coconut extract. Continue whipping on medium speed until it forms stiff peaks.

When the gelatin mixture starts to gel, take it out and add one big dollop of the whipped cream into the gelatin and beat it good. Then gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream until well-incorporated. Spoon this mixture into the chilled pie shell and refrigerate the pie for 3-4 hours, up to overnight.

Cut with a sharp, non-serrated knife dipped in hot water for nice clean edges. Garnish with minature slices of watermelon.


  1. How much gelatin? It's not listed in the ingredients.

    1. Oh my, I really need to do a better job of proofreading! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It is 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin. I have corrected it in the recipe. Thanks!