Weekend Sweet Things: Grilled Desserts

Grilled Pound Cake with Espresso Chocolate Sauce…Grilled Berry Cobbler with Graham Cracker Topping…Grilled Skillet Peach Pie…Grilled Banana Sundaes…is your grill hot yet?

What pops into your head when you think about grilling out with family and friends?  For me, it’s the smell and sizzling sound of meat cooking, the sweet and smoky taste of grilled veggies and the sight of those beautiful grill marks.  Dessert usually consists of something you heated up the whole house to make or that somebody else has. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Making dessert on the grill is a lot easier than you think and won’t cause a sweat or stress your cooling system.

Try one of these recipes at your weekend cookout, or even during the week to add something different to your family meal.  Don’t be afraid to be creative and have fun with your grill.  It can be your best friend in the hot weather (or year-round, if you’re like me) and your family and friends will be duly impressed.

Grilled Pound Cake with Espresso Chocolate Sauce
Makes: 8 servings

2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
8 ounces dark baking chocolate or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1-1/3 cups)
1 16-ounce loaf prepared or frozen pound cake*, thawed
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup whipping cream, whipped, or 2 cups frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped

1. In a small bowl, combine boiling water and espresso powder. Set aside.
2. For chocolate sauce: In a small heavy saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup whipping cream and the corn syrup. Bring to boiling; remove from heat. Stir in espresso mixture. Add chocolate all at once. Let mixture stand, covered, for 4 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cover to keep warm.
3. Cut pound cake into eight 3/4-inch-thick slices.* Poke each slice several times with the tines of a fork. Drizzle orange juice evenly over cake slices.
4. For a charcoal grill, place cake slices on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until toasted and heated through, turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place cake slices on grill rack over heat. Grill, uncovered, as above.)
5. Serve grilled cake slices with whipped cream, pistachio nuts, and chocolate sauce. Makes 8 servings.

*Tip: If the prepared pound cake is larger than 16 ounces, save the leftover cake for another use.

Grilled Berry Cobbler with Graham Cracker Topping
Makes: 6 servings

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
(may also use 6 cups of any one of the above berries)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup butter

1. In a large bowl combine blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, granulated sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Let berry mixture sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a 2-quart disposable foil pan place the fruit mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil.

2. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around edge of grill. Test for medium heat over center of grill. Place foil pan on rack in the center of grill. Cover; grill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, combine crushed graham crackers, flour, and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Uncover pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit mixture in foil pan. Cover grill; cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until mixture is bubbly and fruit has thickened. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Place foil pan on grill rack over burner that is off. Grill as above.) Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
4. If desired, serve with vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Skillet Peach Pie
Makes: 12 servings

3-1/2 lbs. peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 15-ounce pkg. rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust (2 crusts)
OR 2 homemade pastry crusts
Nonstick cooking spray
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 Tbsp. sugar

1. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-high coals on one side of a grill. Test for medium heat above the empty side of the grill. Brush peach halves with canola oil. Place halves, cut sides down, on a grill rack directly over coals for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from heat.
2. Cut peach halves into wedges. In a large mixing bowl toss peaches with 1/2 cup sugar, basil, cornstarch and lemon juice.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll each crust to a 12-inch diameter. Coat a 9-1/2 to 10-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Line the skillet with one of the crusts; the dough should come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan. Place the peach mixture into the pie crust in the skillet. With a sharp knife, cut several slits in the center of the second crust to vent steam. Place the second crust over the pie filling. Tuck any extra dough at the edges between the side of the skillet and the bottom crust. Crimp the edge. In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg and water. Brush the pie with egg mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
4. Place the skillet on the grill rack over the empty side of the grill. Cover and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, rotating once halfway through grilling time. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as directed above.) Cool the pie on a wire rack 30 to 40 minutes before slicing.

Grilled Banana Sundaes
Makes: 4 servings

3 large firm bananas
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
2 teaspoons lime juice or orange juice
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Toasted coconut (optional)
Sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Cut bananas in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise. (You should have 12 pieces.) Stir together margarine or butter and 1 teaspoon of the lime or orange juice. Brush mixture on all sides of banana pieces.
2. Place bananas directly on the grill rack over medium-hot coals. Grill, uncovered, for 2 minutes; turn over and grill for 2 minutes more or until heated through.
3. Meanwhile, in a heavy, medium skillet or saucepan, combine the caramel topping and the remaining 1 teaspoon lime or orange juice. Heat on the grill rack alongside bananas directly over the coals, or on a stove top, until bubbly, stirring frequently. Stir in cinnamon. Add bananas and stir gently to coat.
4. To serve, scoop ice cream into 4 dessert dishes. Spoon sauce and bananas on top of  ice cream. Sprinkle with the coconut and/or almonds, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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