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Dessert recipes: Blueberry cobbler and more to make on the grill

Most people who barbecue focus on meat, fish, poultry and vegetables. Even experienced outdoor chefs tend to turn off the grill when it comes time for dessert. That’s too bad, because grilled fruit desserts are among the healthiest and most refreshing ways to end a casual summer meal. For success with grilling fresh fruit, here are a few tips and recipes:

FIRM FRUIT IS BEST: While a very ripe peach is delicious for eating out of hand, a firmer specimen will do better on the grill, holding its shape while softer fruit may fall apart. Don’t worry about sweetness. As fruit cooks, its sugars concentrate and caramelize. And the desserts below have added sweeteners for flavor.

CLEAN THE GRILL: It should go without saying. You don’t want your strawberries picking up hints of salmon or sausage. Before you grill, vigorously go over the grids with a wire brush to remove residue from other foods.  

OIL GRILL WELL: Fruit contains sugar, and when sugar melts, it gets sticky. Oil the grids of your grill well with flavorless vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray so your fruit won’t cling to the cooking surface.

GET A GOOD SEAR: Grill for 3 minutes over medium-high heat before attempting
to flip the fruit. This will give the surfaces a chance to acquire pretty grill marks, and the fruit will toughen up a little for easy turning.

Grilled fruit kebabs

A platter of Grilled Fruit Kebabs, skewers of
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 
1 tablespoon lime juice 
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1⁄2 -inch cubes 
8 ripe but firm strawberries, stemmed 
2 ripe but firm mangos, pitted and peeled, and cut into 1 1⁄2-inch cubes 
4 kiwis, peeled and halved 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

 HOW TO:

1. In a large bowl, combine the butter, lime juice and brown sugar. Add the fruit and toss gently to coat.
 
2. Thread the fruit on skewers (if using wood skewers, soak them in a bowl of water for 20 minutes before skewering the fruit), alternating contrasting fruit colors. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
 
3. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Clean the grill well and brush grill with vegetable oil. Grill covered until the fruit begins to show grill marks, about 3 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until the fruit has softened a little and has grill marks on the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the kebabs to the serving platter, sprinkle with mint and serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Grilled watermelon sundaes

A Grilled Watermelon Sundae, watermelon seared on the
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/4 cup honey 
8 (1-inch-thick) watermelon triangles 
1 quart pistachio ice cream 
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
 

HOW TO:

1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Clean the grill well and brush grill with vegetable oil. Place the watermelon on the oiled grill and cook until a little warm and lightly grilled, 3 minutes on each side.
 
2. Transfer watermelon to bowls. Top with scoops of ice cream. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately. 
Makes 8 servings 

Blueberry cobbler on the grill

A Blueberry cobbler on the gril,l baked until
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

For the filling: 
5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 
1/3 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
Pinch salt
 
For the topping: 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 large egg yolk 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
Whipped cream for serving (optional)
 

HOW TO:

1. Preheat a gas grill to medium. Make the filling: Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon zest and salt in 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
 
2. Make the topping: Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix by hand until just combined.
 
3. Scatter tablespoons of the dough over the fruit. Place on the grill, cover and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, 35 to 50 minutes. Keep an eye on the thermometer, if your grill has one, and adjust the temperature during baking so it stays between 375 and 450 degrees. Let stand 30 minutes and serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Grilled stone fruit with ricotta and balsamic-honey syrup

A Grilled Stone Fruit with Ricotta, peaches halved
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup honey 
4 peaches, nectarines or large plums, halved and pitted 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta

HOW TO:

1. Combine the vinegar and honey in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring. Cook until reduced by about half. Transfer to a small pitcher and set aside.
 
2. Preheat gas grill to medium-high. Brush cut sides of fruit with butter. Clean the grill well and brush the grill with vegetable oil. Grill, covered, until fruit shows grill marks and is just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to dessert plates, spoon some ricotta alongside the fruit, drizzle with balsamic-honey syrup, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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