This recipe for Karpouzopita – Watermelon Pie comes from Vasiliki, from O Palaios, a renowned zaharoplasteio (patisserie) in the town of Plaka on the cycladic island of Milos. Vasikili makes and serves countless Karpouzopites, at her zaharoplasteio in Milos each summer, and she has beyond perfected it: sweet bursts of juicy, rosy watermelon; crunchy, nutty toasted sesame seeds; heavenly cinnamon spice; and an orange-hued batter that caramelises at the base and creates a chewy, crunchy toffee at the edges. This dessert is incredible!!!
I was lucky enough to have a personal lesson when I travelled to Milos in July 2018. I recently reached out to Vasiliki and asked if she would like to share it with the KO community and she said, “I am honoured that you trust me and my recipe and, with all my heart and love, I would like you to share it! I am sending you a thousand hugs and kisses from Milos.” Please make this beautiful pie and feel Vasiliki’s warm and loving embrace all the way from Milos! And when and if you can make the journey to Milos, please go and enjoy the original and best version of this pie at O Palaios in Plaka and accept Vasiliki’s embrace in person too!
Vasiliki's Karpouzopita - Greek Watermelon Pie Recipe
Karpouzopita - Watermelon Pie: sweet bursts of juicy, rosy watermelon; crunchy, nutty toasted sesame seeds; heavenly cinnamon spice; and an orange-hued batter that caramelises at the base and creates a chewy, crunchy toffee at the edges. This dessert is incredible!!!
- 25 g unsalted butter softened
- Plain flour to dust the base of the baking pan
- 1.2 kg watermelon flesh
- 150 g caster sugar
- 220 g plain flour
- 135 ml extra virgin olive oil EVOO
- Sesame seeds
Preparing the baking dish
Generously baste the base of a 32cm diameter baking pan with the butter
Generously dust the base of the baking pan with plain flour and then discard any excess flour
Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
Preparing the Karpouzopita
Cut the watermelon into large chunks and place in a large bowl
Add the sugar and flour to the bowl and very gently mix, until the flour, sugar and some of the watermelon juices form a thick batter
Remove the baking pan from the freezer
Coat the base of the baking pan with the EVOO
Pour the watermelon mixture into the pan and spread evenly (the olive oil will rise and spread across the top of the watermelon mixture)
Tilt the pan a little, so the EVOO spreads across the top of the karpouzopita
Generously dust with cinnamon (enough to cover the top of the pie)
Generously sprinkle with sesame seeds (again, enough to cover the top of the pie)
Bake at 200°C fan-forced, until the edges and base of the watermelon pie caramelise (at least 1 hour)
Serving the Karpouzopita
Allow the watermelon pie to cool a little and serve (you may need to use scissors to cut the slices of pie)
Enjoy simply as it is! Kali Orexi!
• Do not be afraid of the olive oil quantity. Most of it is absorbed by the karpouzopita and it doesn’t taste oily at all!
• Be sure to tilt the pan and get the olive oil to run into the canyons and valleys around the watermelon pieces. This will ensure the sesame seeds come into contact with the olive oil and toast nicely during baking
• During the baking process, the water in the watermelon is cooked off and then the sugar in the watermelon, the added sugar and the oil combine and caramelise. You need to bake the pie long enough for this caramelisation to occur. The caramelisation will progress and a toffee will begin to form at the edges of the pie. This is the perfect result!