Boozy Watermelon Pirate Ship

Even landlubbers will want to set sail when you serve this impressive vessel at your next party.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 day 1 hr (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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One 18- to 20-pound seedless watermelon

One 1-pint bottle dark rum

1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks

1 papaya, seeded, 2 long slices reserved and the rest cut into chunks


Special equipment:
a tray, melon baller, apple corer, 12-inch wood skewer, 8-inch wood skewer and toothpicks
  1. Set the watermelon on its side (stem ends facing left and right) and cut off a small flat piece of rind so the watermelon is stable.
  2. Use the screw top of the rum bottle to trace a circle on the top of the watermelon. Cut out the circle to make a hole exposing the flesh. Tilt the watermelon on its side and press the bottle into the watermelon all the way up to the neck. Turn the watermelon back so the bottle is facing downward. Put the watermelon on a tray and refrigerate until all the rum soaks in, 12 to 24 hours depending on the density of the watermelon.
  3. To make the ship: Cut off the top half of the watermelon in one piece lengthwise, just above the stem. Use a melon baller to scoop out as many balls as possible from the top and bottom halves of the melon and put them in a large bowl. Scrape the top and bottom halves down to the rind with a spoon. The bottom half of the melon will be your ship. 
  4. Use a paring knife to cut a notch about 1 inch deep and 3 inches wide on each side of the ship. Mark 4 evenly spaced portholes under each notch using an apple corer (don't press all the way through). Use a paring knife to cut out the marked circles. 
  5. Toss the chunks of mango, pineapple and papaya (reserving the slices) with the watermelon balls in the large bowl and fill the boat. (If there is a little fruit salad leftover, use it to refill the boat as your guests eat.)
  6. To make the sails: Cut the top half of the watermelon in half lengthwise and use the pieces to make sails. From the center most curved sections of the rinds cut out two 3-inch square sails. Cut two 2-inch sails and one 1 1/2-inch sail from the remaining rind pieces. Trim the backs of the sail to make them neat, but leave them thick.
  7. Thread 3 of the sails onto a 12-inch wood skewer in this order: a 3-inch sail on the bottom, 2-inch sail in the middle and 1 1/2-inch sail on the top. Thread the remaining 2 sails on an 8-inch wood skewer with the largest sail on the bottom. Stick the skewers with the sails into the fruit, putting the 3-sail mast in the back. 
  8. Use a paring knife to cut 4 small flags from the papaya slices. Stick a flag on the top of each skewer mast. Stick 2 toothpicks in the back of the boat and add a flag to each. 
  9. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
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