This Summer Dessert Recipe Is Well Worth the Effort

Watermelon lime bars are a refreshing, icy dessert perfect for an early summer party.

We’re exploring the many ways to prepare one of summer’s most underestimated fruits: Watermelon. We’ve partnered with Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt for fresh recipes ideas and cooking tips.

As late spring arrives, there’s one fruit that is in ample supply and just screams “summer,” more than anything else in season this time of year: Watermelon. And while we all have childhood memories of eating it off the rind, sticky juice running down our chins, and seeing who can spit the seeds the farthest, it’s not a fruit that presents itself in a clear way in the kitchen. Have peaches? Make a cobbler. Strawberries? Bring on the short cake. But what do you do with watermelon? This watermelon bar recipe answers that question.

A stunning mix of colors, textures, and flavors, this dessert pairs a crisp, cooling watermelon sorbet with a creamy, tart semifreddo. Semifreddo, which simply means “partially frozen,” is the easiest ice cream you’ll ever make. It’s creamy, softer than ice cream, and the best part: it requires no churning. This recipe may have a few steps, but each moment spent making this dessert will be rewarded.

If you don’t want to make the entire recipe, this semifreddo pairs beautifully with fresh berries, or you can serve a slice of it on top of a tequila-spiked slice of watermelon. Freeze the semifreddo in a plastic wrap lined loaf pan and remove to slice.


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Watermelon Lime Bars

“Semifreddo’s ease makes it perfect for a warm summer weekday evening, but the taste and fancy Italian name makes it eager to impress a crowd.” – Ashley

Servings: 12



For the Watermelon Sorbet:

1 small watermelon (about 2 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon tequila

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

For the Lime Semifreddo:

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt


To make the sorbet:

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

Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Coarsely chop the watermelon flesh, then purée enough to yield 2 1/2 cups in a blender.

Add the sugar liquid, lime juice, zest, salt, and tequila to purée and blend 30 seconds.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream maker. Transfer to lined baking pan, smoothing top. Place the pan in freezer until firm, about 3 hours or overnight is fine.

To make the Lime Semifreddo

Whisk together condensed milk, zest, salt, and juice.

Beat the cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then gently fold into condensed-milk mixture.

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

To serve, lift dessert from pan using plastic wrap. Cut into 12 bars and serve on chilled plates.

Note: Dessert can be frozen (covered once completely frozen) up to 3 days. Cut into bars just before serving.

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