Desserts from the grill

Turn up the Heat on Grilled Desserts

These mouthwatering desserts are just as simple as grilling a steak, use the heat from the same coals, and are a step up from cupcakes and s’mores. Gentle smoke infused desserts and the light char from the grill grates take basic ingredients to the next level with restaurant quality ingredients right in your back yard.

1. Cast Iron Blueberry Cobbler

Pull out your cast iron skillet for this one and while store bought blueberries will do fine, the best time of year for cobbler is when the berries are available fresh at your local farmer’s market.

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder to a mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add in milk and butter; stir to combine. Spread batter on well seasoned cast iron skillet. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over batter. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar and drizzle with vanilla. Bake on closed grill for approximately 40 minutes on indirect heat. The crust will rise to the top. Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

2.Grilled Banana Boats

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This super easy dessert uses the banana’s peel as a cooking vessel and yields a warm, toasty treat. Split the banana down the center interior line from stem to tip. Gently squeeze the two ends of the banana towards one another to open the peel up. Stuff with your choice of toppings: pecans, walnuts, chocolate morsels or chocolate bars and top with mini marshmallows. Grill over indirect heat with lid closed tightly just until melted.

3: Grilled Peaches

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Starting these peaches over the direct flame allows the hot grate to caramelize the natural sugars in the fruit. Topping them with a brown sugar, cinnamon blend and finishing over indirect heat gives those sugars time to mingle for a simple, flavorful dessert that captures all the flavors of a southern summer.
  •  2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 fresh peaches
  • Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Vanilla ice cream
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut peaches along the seam all the way around and twist halves off the pit. Brush cut sides with grapeseed oil or vegetable oil. Cook, cut side down, on a hot grill until fruit has grill marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush tops with oil, turn over, and move to indirect heat. Sprinkle cut sides with cinnamon sugar. Cover grill and cook until sugar is melted and fruit is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream (sprinkle on extra cinnamon sugar if you like).

4. Grilled Watermelon

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Simple ingredients and simple flavors are enhanced when they meet the grill. The grilling process enhances the natural flavors of the melon. Excess moisture evaporates leaving a concentrated melon flavor with muted sweetness and added smoke. Finish the dish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh lime juice, mint and a drizzle of honey. Another variation would be to drizzle lightly with a balsamic glaze.

  • Watermelon wedges, at least 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Olive oil
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • Honey
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint, thinly sliced
  • Plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style

Heat a grill over medium high heat until hot. Brush each of the watermelon slices on both sides with olive oil. Grill the slices until barely softened with defined grill marks, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Place 1 slice on each serving plate. Drizzle over a little lime juice and honey, then top with a dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle over a little lime zest and mint leaves. Serve immediately.

5. Pineapple Upside Down Cake … On the Grill

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This one is a little more involved, but well worth the effort. The addition of the grilled pineapple adds depth to the classic flavors.

TOPPING

  • 6 rings fresh (not canned) pineapple, each ½ inch thick, peeled and cored
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

BATTER

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

 

Brush the pineapple rings with the melted butter. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pineapple over direct medium heat, with the lid open, until nicely marked, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and let cool. Leave one pineapple ring whole and cut the others into halves.

 

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over direct medium heat, combine the brown sugar, cream, cinnamon, and any melted butter remaining from brushing the pineapple slices. Cook until the sugar has melted and the liquid starts to bubble around the outer edge, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and place on a sheet pan. Place the whole pineapple ring in the center of the skillet, and then arrange the pineapple halves around it. Set aside.

 

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.

 

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture and then gradually add the flour mixture. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly over the pineapple slices in the skillet.

 

Bake the cake over indirect medium heat, keeping the temperature of the grill as close to 350°F as possible, with the lid closed, until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Wearing barbecue mitts, remove the cake from the grill and let cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

 

Before removing the cake from the skillet, run a paring knife around the edge to loosen it. Place a serving platter, large enough to hold the cake, over the top of the skillet. Wearing barbecue mitts, carefully invert the skillet and platter at the same time, and then slowly remove the skillet. Replace any pineapple that has stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Let the cake cool briefly before slicing into wedges and serving. The cake is best served warm or at room temperature the day it is made.

In another life I would have attended culinary school, competed in every reality cooking competition I could find, and owned a quaint farm to table restaurant. In reality, though, I'm the guy who loves cooking outdoors for anybody who would let me and doesn't let go of any excuse for a party, to fire up the grill and light the smoker.

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