Grilled Fig and Orange Blossom Sundaes

Looking for dessert but boycotting the oven? Grilling dessert is a great way to celebrate the summer, pairing fruit with ice cream or cake for a perfectly sweet treat. Keep the grates hot throughout the meal to prepare dessert when you’re ready for it—and whatever you choose to make, chances are it’ll be even better served piping hot with melty ice cream! Read on for tips on how to pick the best fruit for grilling, how to prepare your grill, and recipes to experiment with.

Pick and Prepare Fruit

Fruits that work best on the grill tend to be heartier varieties with firm surfaces and higher sugar content for good char and caramelization (a.k.a. where the flavor is!). Fruits with a high water content (such as watermelon) don’t grill as easily, taking more time to develop a good char while becoming mushy in the process. Instead, opt for fruit like sliced and cored pineapple, halved stone fruit (peaches, plums, etc.), pitted cherries, or citrus.

Grilled Apricots and Herbed Strawberry Salsa recipe

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Try to pick fruit that is ripe, but still firm. Soft, bruised fruit will grill just fine, but may stick to the grill more easily. Coat the flesh more heavily with nonstick cooking spray.

Read More: How to Grill Fruit for Sweet & Savory Summer Recipes

Consider Cake

To pair with your fruit, certain types of cake also do well on the grill; try angel food cake and grilled pound cake. They’ll get lightly toasted and a little smoky, and pair wonderfully with fruit, whipped cream, and ice cream (or all of the above).

Prepare the Grill

Fruit naturally has a lot of sugar, so the grates of your grill must be extremely clean and well-oiled to prevent pieces from sticking to the grill. Use a grill brush to gently paint a layer of oil onto the grates. If you don’t have a grill brush, dip a paper towel in oil and use a pair of long tongs to apply to the grill.

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The heat of your grill should be at a relatively medium heat; extreme flame will burn the fruit faster than it can cook through. Adjust the heat to the thickness of your fruit—thinner slices of pineapple will require faster, more direct cooking whereas thicker peaches will need lower heat to soften all the way through.

Read More: CNET’s Best Gas Grills for 2019

Grilled Dessert Recipes

Ready to fire things up? Here are seven sweet ways to end your next cookout while the grill is still hot.

1. Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream

grilled nectarine crumble

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The classic combination of peaches-n-cream is complemented by the intense, caramelized flavors of grilled peaches. Creamy ice cream will melt beautifully on the hot peaches, creating a delicious (and gluten-free!) summertime treat. Substitute peaches for other stone fruit as the season progresses; plums, apricots, pluots, and nectarines work just as well (and work on the grill with mascarpone and a brown sugar crumble if you’re not near a freezer). Check out this recipe for Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream.

2. Grilled Banana S’mores

The marshmallow isn’t the only component in this decadent s’more that benefits from the kiss of a flame! Grilled bananas are sandwiched between melty chocolate, toasty marshmallows, and two crispy graham crackers for this take on a classic campfire favorite. Check out this Grilled Banana S’mores recipe.

3. Triple Berry Crumble on the Grill

Forget the oven—this Triple Berry Crumble takes in all of the smoky flavors of the grill and cooks alongside the rest of your dinner! A cast iron skillet is perfect for cooking outside, holding lots of heat to cook the crumble all of the way through. Check out this Triple Berry Crumble recipe.

4. Grilled Coconut-Apple Crisp

Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp recipe

Chowhound

Along the same lines, our coconut-apple crisp gets cooked on the grill, but in a disposable aluminum pan, so it’s great for those who don’t have cast iron (or just don’t want to lug it along to a friend’s BBQ or on a camping trip). With cinnamon, cloves, coconut, and ginger, apples take a summery tropical twist, and the grill makes for intense caramelization (aka more flavor). Get our Grilled Coconut-Apple Crisp recipe.

5. Grilled Cherry Milkshake

Cherries have a rich, dark sweetness that only gets better with smoke and heat. Pair these decadently grilled cherries with sweet, delicate cream and sip with a straw—a beautiful way to end summer fruit season! Also consider substituting grapes for cherries in their off-season. Check out this Grilled Cherry Milkshake recipe.

6. Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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I’ve been distracted for this last week. Went to the amazing @pinterest In the Making conference on Tuesday and have been frantically trying to get work done before I leave for Los Angeles this weekend to pick up @alecjosephbates for the end of #AIDSLifcycle. 🍍 Thankfully the San Francisco weather (though windy) has been gorgeous. It was super gray and dreary for a couple of weeks prior. So much so that it had me pining away for Hawaii. 🍍 Not that I really need much to pine away for that magical island. In the foggy overcast weeks of the end of May Gray, I stopped by the grocery store and saw some pineapples on sale. Against my better judgement I snagged a few. 🍍 Pineapples never taste as good as they do on a tropical island. Maybe it’s because they don’t ripen after they are picked, and if they are shipped out here to the mainland, that means they are underripe and more durable (ripe fruit bruises easily). Or maybe it’s because everything tastes better when you are eating it on a gorgeous paradise beach watching the sunset. Most likely it is a combo of both. 🍍 Either way, after nibbling on the pineapple I figured I needed to do something with it. They were OK but they needed something more. With the weather warmed up, I fired up the grill and threw the pineapple on there, giving them a slight smokiness. Into the cast iron skillet with a sprinkling Of Korean red pepper flakes for dimension and spice, then a lime scented cake batter. Instantly better! 🍍 It’s not the same as driving around Maui in a convertible or hiking through a bamboo forest to a waterfall. But it will have to do. Get the recipe on my blog or just google “eatthelove grilled pineapple upside down cake”. . . . . . #pineapple #pineappleupsidedowncake #pineappleupsidedown #cake #lime #citrus #spicypineapple #vintagecake #🍍 #fromscratch #bakersgonnabake #bakersofinstagram #jarrytype #mywilliamssonoma #mypinterest #baking #f52grams #feedfeed #thebakefeed #bakeacake #foodblogfeed #foodphotography @thefeedfeed @thebakefeed @foodblogfeed

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Grilling slices of sweet pineapple kickstarts the rich caramelization of the sugars in this upside-down cake. Plus, charred and smoky flavors pair beautifully with super sweet fruits like pineapple. A hint of chili flake in the topping is cooled down with a fragrant, lime-spiced pound cake base. Check out this Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe.

7. Grilled Pound Cake with Citrus and Whipped Cream

Grilling pound cake slices toasts the cake in a delightfully crispy way. The flavor combinations are simply magic—cooling whipped cream, tart citrus, and toasty cake are perfect way to end a late summer cookout. For an added grill element: Place a halved orange, flesh side down, on the grill and char until dark marks appear. Allow to cool slightly and squeeze the juice into the whipped cream for more citrus flavor. Check out this Grilled Pound Cake recipe.

8. Grilled Chocolate Sandwich

Grilled Chocolate Sandwich recipe

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For something truly different, try this trick: sandwich bittersweet chocolate between slices of crusty bread, brush it with butter, and grill it, pressing and sprinkling the outside with cinnamon-sugar so it caramelizes near the end. Serve it with ice cream, of course! Get our Grilled Chocolate Sandwich recipe.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to  Grilling & BBQ

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Rachel Johnson is a millennial food person; she writes about food, all she Instagrams is food, and she just can't stop talking about it. Her first cookbook, "Stupid Good: A Shut Up and Cook Book" was published in 2014, encouraging the merits of fresh, vibrant food and cooking for yourself as a twentysomething. Today, Rachel works as a freelance food writer and photographer specializing in online food media and manages her brand, Stupid Good Food. She lives in Austin with her boyfriend, dog, and full pantry.
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