Frozen Watermelon-Lime Bars

I bought “the hugest” (my little son’s description :) watermelon a couple of days ago. Since there are only two watermelon-eaters in our home, everyone got quite a share; but we still couldn’t finish it. Sometimes, when you eat too much of your favorite thing you can suddenly (and never gradually) reach to the point when even a thought about what you were eating a moment before with an impressive appetite, becomes unpleasantly disturbing. That was the case. The leftover of this watermelon was sitting in the fridge, occupying always valuable space. I was too weak to get rid of it (I hate throwing perfectly good food away). Instead, I started thinking about transforming it into something else. This August’s “Gourmet” I got in the mail had just what I might had needed. Usually, I’m quite skeptical about the idea of utilizing condensed milk as a main ingredient in the dessert. But here it was used only in one layer, and was diluted with a very generous amount of lime juice, so, I gave it a try. It wasn’t bad, really. And I LOVED the watermelon sorbet.

A bit of tequila prevents the sorbet from freezing too hard, and adds a nice touch. The dessert cuts nicely and looks pretty on a plate; but it’s a very good idea to chill the plates before serving. This way the guests get a chance to enjoy eating the dessert with a fork rather than drinking it or licking from the plate.

Serves 8 to 12

For the watermelon sorbet:

  • About 2 1/2-lb piece of watermelon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (add a bit more to your taste, if you wish)
  • 1 tbsp tequila

For the lime semifredo:

  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk (choose a reliable brand)
  • Grated zest of two limes
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup chilled heavy cream

Make the watermelon sorbet:

Line a 9-inch square baking pan (2 inches deep) with plastic wrap or parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Put the lined pan in the freezer.

Coarsely chop the watermelon flesh (leave the seeds in), then puree in a blender or food processor to yield 2 ½ cups. Add the sugar, juice, and tequila to the puree and process for 30 seconds. Chill the mixture until cold, then process in an ice cream maker.

Transfer the sorbet into the lined pan, smoothing the top. Put in the freezer to harden, at least for 2 hours.

Make the lime semifredo, assemble the dessert:

Whisk together the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Beat the whipping cream until it just holds medium peaks, then gently fold into the condensed-milk mixture in three additions.

Spread over the frozen sorbet, smoothing the top. Freeze until solid, at least 2 hours.

To serve, lift the dessert from the pan using plastic wrap or parchment overhang. Cut into bars and serve on the chilled plates.

The dessert can be frozen (covered once completely frozen) up to 3 days. Cut into bars just before serving.