A meal just isn’t complete without dessert. But instead of reaching for store-bought sweets or those unimaginative brownies from a box, get more mileage out of your grill by grilling your next dessert.
“Years ago, even the most inventive cooks treated the idea of making desserts on a grill with skepticism, but now you can’t claim to be a master griller unless you have at least a couple desserts in your repertoire,” said Jamie Purviance, author of Weber’s Real Grilling. “The truth is out about their great taste, and then there is the dramatic effect of opening the lid and surprising your guests with sizzling sweets.”
Preparing a grilled dessert can be as easy as warming fresh fruits such as halved bananas, split peaches or sliced pineapples over direct heat and serving them with a scoop of ice cream. Or you can use indirect heat to actually bake something simple such as a fruit cobbler or crisp.
“In many ways, a covered grill works as an oven,” said Purviance. “The hot flames cook like a broiler that has flipped to the bottom of the oven, browning the surfaces of cut fruit, making them tender and sweeter. And, if you grill over indirect heat by turning off the middle gas burner or pushing the coals to the sides and closing the lid, you can cook a dessert in a pan over the unlit area of the grill.”
Purviance has partnered with Weber-Stephen Products Co., the premier manufacturer of charcoal and gas grills, grilling accessories and other outdoor room products, to offer consumers useful and creative tips for firing up desserts on their grills.
Before You Begin. If grilled fruits are on your menu, select ones that are ripe (or almost ripe) and firm. Purviance says that fruits will soften on the grill, so he recommends selecting firm produce to ensure they will hold their shape while cooking.
Time and Temperature. Purviance suggests knowing how long and at what temperature to grill to produce the finest results. Peaches should be cut into halves and grilled over direct medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Bananas are best split lengthwise, with the skin left on to hold the fruit’s shape, and grilled over direct medium heat for approximately 6-8 minutes. Pineapples should be peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices or 1-inch wedges, then grilled for 5-10 minutes over direct medium heat.
Hold the Chicken. While that teriyaki chicken was delectable, its remnants left on the grill won’t taste good on grilled peaches. Purviance offers this remedy before grilling up desserts-simply brush the grates clean with a stiff wire brush.
Better with Butter. Butter makes almost anything taste better, and fruit is no exception. Purviance recommends brushing fruit lightly on all sides with melted butter and a little sugar for sweetness before grilling it. This coating will also help prevent the fruit from sticking.
Never Leave Your Post. The sweet succulence of most fruits turns golden brown and delicious on the grill, but left too long in place, golden brown can turn to black and bitter. Purviance recommends watching the fruit carefully and turning occasionally. To check the color and doneness, slide a thin spatula gently under the fruit and slightly lift.
Your sweet tooth will never be the same.