Keep the Grill Fired Up for Dessert
Dinner’s over, and another cookout with friends seems to be winding down. But the charcoal is still warm. And no one wants to call it a night quite yet.
So now what?
Well, use that heat and make dessert.
Grilling desserts is a delicious way to end to the night. It’s also a fun way to extend the party and make it more memorable for everyone.
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind when making desserts on the grill.
Clean grate, clean slate
First off – and it probably goes without saying – if you’ve just cooked dinner on the grill, it needs to be cleaned before dessert.
Our grillmaster, Russ Faulk, points out, “You don’t want bits of meat from dinner on your grilled peaches for dessert.” Definitely not.
Just as you would before any grilling session, use a stiff stainless steel grill brush to give the surface a quick scrub.
Then after you’re done grilling dessert, turn the main burners on high with the hood closed for about 10 minutes. It’ll help to burn away the rest of the drippings and residue.
Easy as pie
The only thing easier than grilling dessert is eating it.
Sure, you can find some challenging recipes out there for grilled desserts, but most of the time, it can be pretty easy – especially with fruit.
The sugars in the fruit caramelize over the hot fire creating new delicious flavors. Grilling expert Derrick Riches of About.com goes into more detail and offers up a few recipes.
For something quick and simple, Russ recommends grilling some pit fruit and serving with homemade ice cream. Then toss on any other toppings that you’d like, such as nuts or raisins. And that’s it. He adds that ripe, soft fruit is easier to grill than harder fruits.
Grilling fruit with ice cream is a great way to go because most people love the juxtaposition of warm and cold ingredients mixed together. Our Grilled Banana Split Sundae is a good example. A twist on a classic, the hot, caramelized bananas, grilled cherries and warm dark chocolate honey sauce slowly melt the vanilla ice cream. It’s just as good as it sounds.
Our grilled banana split sundae with cinnamon spice ice cream recipe.
Another dessert favorite that’s great on the grill is pound cake. It pairs nicely with grilled fruit, too. Just spread some butter on each slice of thawed pound cake and throw them on the grill on low (about 500°F). Toast each side for about 2-3 minutes and then you’re ready to add some toppings. We like to add caramel strawberries and crème fraiche.
Just try to resist our recipe for caramel strawberries with grilled pound cake and crème fraîche.
Make it interactive
Dessert provides the perfect opportunity to get everyone involved in the grilling. It’s a great way to keep the fun going at any cookout.
And you don’t have to be a pastry chef to pull it off.
There’s more room for your guests to experiment because it can be very simple and there’s less pressure to get it exactly right. If you burn a marshmallow, good news – it still tastes great. If you take a peach off the grill just a little too early, you won’t ruin the dessert.
We recommend trying our Grilled Croissant S’mores Recipe. It’s a grownup take on a fireside classic that’s always a huge hit and perfect for getting everyone in on the action.
Get your guests involved with making dessert with our grilled croissant s’mores.
When it comes to what dessert to grill, it’s a chance to flex your creative muscles. Here are just a couple ideas to get you started.
- Dessert kabobs – It doesn’t get any easier than dessert kabobs. Cut up some fruit and pound cake, put them on skewers, and you’re ready to go. You can even let your guests customize what they’d like on their kabob. Try this recipe for French Toast Fruit Kabobs from the Food Affair blog.
- Grilled doughnuts – No longer are doughnuts restricted to breakfast – finally. Just cut in half and grill each side for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. The sugar will caramelize for a deliciously toasty dessert. The blog Our Best Bites has a recipe for Grilled Doughnut Berry Shortcake and Yahoo! Food offers a quick how-to guide.
- Grilled Dessert Sandwiches – Everyone loved your burgers at the cookout, so why not just keep that going with dessert? Dessert-style sandwiches are easy and the combinations are limitless. We like these Grilled Banana Bites (courtesy Better Homes & Gardens), which have bananas with melted peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallow crème
Dessert sandwiches are delicious and easy to make. Our recipe for sour cherry and mascarpone croissants are a good one to try.
- Dessert Pizza – How can you improve pizza, something that everyone already loves? Just sweeten it up for dessert. You can do it right on your grill – with or without the help of a pizza stone – or you can cook it right in an outdoor pizza oven. Our Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Pizza is a favorite at cooking events. We also have a recipe for Blackberry Burrata Pizza. The burrata cheese combines cream and mozzarella while the basil and blackberries really kick up the sweetness.
- Sweet seasoning – Looking to add a little something more? Russ recommends sprinkling in a seasoning blend – not unlike a barbecue rub, but with brown sugar and nutmeg. Add some complexity with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne.
So go ahead and try grilling dessert next time. With a little planning and preparation, it’ll turn a great cookout into an even better one.