How to Do Dessert on the Grill

by | Jun 29, 2011 04:51 PM ET

Summertime is grill time for many of us. Who doesn't love coming home from the local farmers' market with a bag full of fresh, savory goodies ready for the grill -- eggplant, peppers, corn, mushrooms, steak, bratwurst, chops. You're set for a flavorful lunch or dinner that you can make and eat al fresco. But what about dessert? Does that require heading inside to bake something in the oven? Nope ...

If you live anywhere in the Southeastern U.S., right now your local farmers' markets and those road-side fruit stands you pass every day are sporting a sweet summer staple: fresh peaches. I know what you're thinking -- peach cobbler or homemade peach pie. Sure, those are great desserts. But why bother with all that baking when you can simply pit, quarter, grill and top with ice cream or whipped cream? For added texture, you can sprinkle a bit of brown sugar and chopped toasted pecans on top. And if peaches aren't your favorite fruit, you can try grilling any of these:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Fig
  • Honeydew melon
  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon

To grill the fruit, you can slice, quarter or halve it to be placed straight on the grill, or you can cube it to put on skewers for a fruit kebab. Next, you'll need to brush on little fat to keep the fruit from sticking to the grill. I like to use melted butter, but some people recommend a light oil like canola oil or grape seed oil. For extra flavor, you can add some spice -- cinnamon, dried orange peel, cardamom, ginger -- whatever suits the flavor profile you're after.

And if fruit simply isn't your idea of dessert and you're craving cake, not to worry -- you can actually make cupcakes on the grill. Full disclosure: I've yet to try this. But I tasted a grilled cupcake a few weeks ago and it was pretty good -- enough so that I want to try making some myself. So I tooled around the Internet and found a few recipes. There's a nice basic recipe at Epicurious but the most creative grilled cupcake idea I spotted during my quest can be found at

I found this concept -- hollowing out an orange and using it as the baking cup for the cupcake -- particularly intriguing and I can't wait to try making them. Some of my neighbors and I like to bake together (typically for a certain winter holiday) and this definitely seems like a project they'd go for (V & B - want to fire up the grill this weekend?). Of course, since vanilla cupcakes are not my favorite, I'll likely substitute something else. Chocolate and orange definitely go together. But I wonder if my key-lime cupcakes would work; I've got tons of mini-muffin tins.

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