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Watermelon Turtle + Edible Books

The Milligan library held their second annual Edible Books Festival this week (year #1 here). My contributions included a “Holes” carrot cake made with graham crackers, coffee frosting and cinnamon as well as a “Tortoise and the Hare” watermelon turtle, complete with hair-get it? I crack myself up.

Anywho, I thought I’d share a few quick and dirty instructions for carving Mr. Turtle. I’ve seen several versions of this turtle but the one at Down Memory Lane is my favorite.

1. Cut watermelon in half along the longer line.

2. Use a melon-baller, or if you don’t have one (like me) use a metal measuring spoon-1/4 tsp, and scoop out as much watermelon as possible.

3. Scrape all remnants of the watermelon out of each side.

4. Take one side of the watermelon, and draw an oval-shaped shell, four feet, and a head with a dry-erase marker (dry-erase makes it easy to wipe off once you’re done carving).

5. Carve out your shapes.

6. With a flat head screwdriver, carve out the lines on your shell. If you are afraid to eyeball it, use the dry erase marker to draw your shapes. I basically just dragged the flat edge back and forth to make the lines–took about 15 minutes total.

7. Poke two small holes in the head and poke in two whole peppercorns for eyes.

8. Use toothpicks to secure your legs and head to the shell.

9. All that’s left is filling the non-shell side with fruit (and adding strawberry-leaf hair if desired). I used the previously scooped melon balls, strawberries and grapes as filling.

This turtle is really easy to make and adds a fun element to any party.

Here’s a little shot of the carrot “Holes” cake. I basically just used a round cookie cutter to make the holes, crumbled the cake into piles and added ground-up graham crackers so it looked more textured and desert-like. I also sprinkled cinnamon into the holes and on one side of the mounds to act as a sort of shading. The “shovels” are broken wood skewers and the rocks are ginger candies.

Some of my other favorites from Edible Books 2012 were “Where’s Wal-dough” (cookie people with Waldo hiding among them) by Grace Jackson, “Pigs in Heaven” (a plate of bacon) by Seth and Stacey Tramel, and “Book of Fungi” with meringue mushrooms (I totally thought they were real mushrooms) by Meredith Sommers.

If you ever have the opportunity to bake for an Edible Books event, DO IT! It’s so much fun! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial. Let us know how your watermelons turn out. Happy carving!