Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grilled Fruit

Who said you can't grill dessert? One of the biggest hits at our cookouts is grilled fresh fruit, served with a simple cinnamon-sugar glaze and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Although grilled peaches and pineapple are my two favorites, other fresh fruit can also be grilled to make a delicious summertime dessert. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in the fruit, and also helps soften and sweeten slightly underripe fruit. Here are some tips for grilling fresh fruit, followed by the recipe for the glaze. In all cases, spray the fruit lightly with nonstick cooking spray or brush with melted butter, and then brush frequently with the glaze while grilling over medium coals. Serve the fruit warm with the remaining glaze and ice cream if desired.

*Pineapple: Peel, core and cut into spears, half-rings, or chunks. Grill for approximately 5 or 6 minutes, turning to cook on all sides.

*Nectarines: Cut in half and remove pit. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning to cook on both sides.

*Freestone Peaches: Slightly under-ripe peaches (firm, not soft/mushy) are best and easiest to handle. Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. I like to leave the skin on, but you can peel if you prefer. Grill for about 8 to 10 minutes per side.

*Pears: Firm pears work best - make sure they're not too ripe. Cut in half or quarters and remove core. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes total, turning to cook on all sides.

*Apples: Cut into quarters and core. Grill for about half an hour, turning to cook all sides.

*Bananas: Slightly underripe bananas work best, although ripe (but not mushy) bananas are fine so long as you're careful when turning. Peel and cut in half crosswise and grill for about 5 or 6 minutes. You can also grill skewered banana chunks.

Glaze for Grilled Fruit
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs brandy OR lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best)

Combine the sugar, butter, cinnamon and brandy or lemon juice in a saucepan, cook over medium heat while stirring until the mixture starts boiling. You can cook this either on your stovetop or put the saucepan on the grill to cook. Once the mixture boils, keep warm while you grill and baste the fruit of your choice. When you serve the fruit, pour on a little more glaze and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired. Pour any remaining glaze in a bowl to pass.

Note: For a spicy change of pace, instead of cinnamon you can flavor the glaze with a few drops of Toad Sweat Dessert Hot Sauce, which comes in Lemon Vanilla (the mildest), Chocolate Orange, Cranberry, and Key Lime (the hottest). Can't decide which flavor of Toad Sweat you want to try? Then get the Toad Sweat 4-pack mini-bottle sampler, featuring all four flavors!

Zestfully yours,

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