On those few recent warm and sunny days we’ve experienced so far this summer, I decided to make some room on the grill so I could experiment with grilled desserts.
I had been thinking how easy it was to make grilled pizzas and flatbreads, which I covered in previous columns, so I figured it should be equally simple to make a fried-dough type of dessert using refrigerated, store-bought dough.
I broke the dough into a few pieces, stretched it, brushed it with melted butter and sprinkled it with generous amounts of cinnamon and sugar, then set it on the grill with some mango.
When the dough came off the grill, I added mascarpone cheese then sprinkled on more cinnamon and sugar. Finally, I chopped up some of the grilled mango and used it to top the sweetened flatbread and garnished with mint.
The grilled dessert plan worked. I imagined walking through a county fair later this summer with a grilled, not fried, dough in my hand smothered with an array of toppings of choice: strawberries with chocolate, raspberries and mascarpone or sliced bananas with creme fraiche and honey. So many possibilities.
You can really elevate a slice of pound cake by brushing it with butter and setting it on the grill to char slightly. If you try this, keep a close eye on it because the pound cake only needs a minute to char. I grilled peaches to serve with the pound cake and made a lemon-infused whipped cream. For such little work, it turned out to be a decadent and delicious dessert.
I made the last treat with my Aunt Hazel in mind. I spent a Sunday afternoon with her not too long ago and we got to discussing my column.
“How come you don’t do many sweet things?” she asked.
I realized she had a point, and I love getting feedback from readers of Granite Kitchen, so I made sure to think up something that included chocolate.
I lightly browned ladyfingers on the grill, then used them to make a chocolate-strawberry-whipped cream concoction that I know she will love. Next time I spend a Sunday at the pond with my aunt, I will be sure to pack up the fixings to grill a sweet dessert.
Grilled Sweet Cinnamon Flatbread
1 fresh store bought pizza dough ball (plain or whole wheat)
3 tablespoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 mango, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped, for garnish if desired
Divide dough into 4 equal parts and stretch each piece to about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness.
Set the dough on a platter and brush both sides of dough with melted butter. Add sugar and cinnamon to a small bowl and mix to combine. Generously sprinkle each piece with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Set the mango slices on the platter and spray lightly with cooking spray. Heat a grill to medium-high heat and set the dough and mango slices on the grill. Close the cover and cook for 2 minutes, then check the mango slices to see if they need to be turned. (They are ready to turn when there are visible grill marks).
Cook the dough for about 4 minutes, then check to see if the bottom has char marks. If marks are present, flip the dough over and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat. The mangos are done when both sides have grill marks.
Set the dough on a clean platter. Divide the mascarpone cheese into 4 portions and spread the cheese on each piece of dough. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar if desired. Add grilled mango and garnish with fresh mint before serving.
Grilled Pound Cake with Summer Fruit
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon paste, such as Nielsen-Massey
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
2 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pound store-bought pound cake
2 tablespoons melted butter
Fresh mint and blackberries, if desired, for garnish
First, make the whipped cream: add the whipping cream to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the cream thickens, about 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the confectioners sugar and drizzle in the lemon paste. Beat again with the electric mixer for one to two minutes or until the powder and paste are well incorporated. Set aside.
Heat a grill to medium heat. Slice the pound cake to the desired number of servings; each slice should be about an inch thick. Brush each side of the pound cake slices with melted butter, then set on the grill. Lightly spray the peach slices with cooking spray and set on the grill. Grill each side of the pound cake for about two minutes or until char marks are present, then remove from grill and set aside. The peaches are done when char marks are present, about one to two minutes each side.
Set a slice of pound cake on a serving plate, top with a dollop of whipped cream. Add grilled peaches and garnish with mint and blackberries before serving.
Grilled Ladyfingers Strawberries and Chocolate
5 oz. package ladyfingers
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz. package semisweet baking chocolate , chopped
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 cups frozen, sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (or spreadable cream cheese)
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon whipped cream (from Grilled Pound Cake recipe)
Mint and grated chocolate for garnish, if desired
Heat grill to medium heat. While grill is heating, make the chocolate ganache: Add whipping cream to a small pan and set over medium heat. When the cream starts to warm and bubble slightly, add the chocolate. Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy; set aside.
Brush the ladyfingers with butter and set on the grill. Grill for one to two minutes or until there are visible char marks. Remove from heat and set 3 ladyfingers on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of mascarpone cheese on the ladyfingers, then add about 2 tablespoons of strawberries. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of chocolate ganache, then add a dollop of whipped cream and top with 3 ladyfingers (as if you are making a sandwich).