Watermelon Chiffon Pie

Four years ago, in dreary mid-April, Rebecca asked me what I wanted for my Birthday dinner. I'd been preparing for the question, and quickly pointed to a quirky recipe I'd found for Watermelon Chiffon Pie. The pie was a winner; light, airy, and fresh, with the undeniable, but subtle flavor of fresh watermelon. This oddly addictive pie balances a sweet buttery graham crust with an almost cucumber-like freshness in the fluffy pastel-pink filling. While I request it every April, the best flavor comes from using fresh-from-the-market local watermelon in the heat of summer. Our recipe is adapted from Ken Haedrich's excellent Pie.     

Yield: 1 pie


   Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

   Watermelon Filling:

  • 3 cups chopped watermelon (seeds are fine, rind removed)
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


  1. For the graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the melted butter and use your hands to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Lightly grease a standard pie pan or springform pan. Spread the graham mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan and press into a crust, coming up the sides of the pan by at least an inch.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes and allow to cool before filling.
  5. For the watermelon filling: Puree watermelon in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the seeds and pulp. This juice will be be divided into two parts.
  6. Put 1/2 cup of watermelon juice into a small bowl (if using a microwave) or saucepan (if using the stove) and sprinkle unflavored gelatin over the juice. Whisk briefly to combine and allow the gelatin to rehydrate for 2 minutes.
  7. Heat the juice/gelatin mixture (stove or microwave) until just beginning to boil. 
  8. Quickly stir the heated juice/gelatin mixture into the rest of the reserved watermelon juice. Add lime juice to the mixture and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
  9. In a clean bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Set aside
  10. In another clean bowl, beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff smooth peaks form. Set aside.
  11. When the watermelon mixture is starting to firm up and no longer a loose liquid (10-15 minutes of fridge time), gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula until evenly combined. Next, carefully fold in the egg white. Do not over-mix, as this will flatten the texture. You are looking for a fairly uniform pink color with no large patches of egg white.  
  12. Pour the watermelon filling into the cooled graham cracker crust. Refrigerate 2-4 hours, until firm, before slicing and eating. Keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for 1-2 days.


  • This recipe contains raw egg white. Use pasteurized eggs if you are concerned about this.