The most spectacular barbecued dessert I’ve ever seen was a baked Alaska, grilled for a few minutes over wood, then flamed with brandy. As the cake came off the grill, people, holding sparklers, danced around it. It was truly a celebration cake. The experience was in Argentina, and I have never seen anything to beat it.
However, you do not need to go that far to make great desserts on the barbecue. Fruit, bread, cake and cookies all grill easily. With the addition of easy flavourings, dessert will be ready in no time. Any of the following can go on the grill after you have finished your main. Each takes a few minutes to cook, and all prep is done ahead of time.
Fruit is an easy option. Bananas can be grilled in their skins. Peel and serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce. To grill pineapple, leave the skin on or not, and brush it with vegetable oil. Combine ¼ cup brown sugar, juice of a lemon and ½ cup rum in a skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce until slightly syrupy. Pour over pineapple and serve immediately. Or halve pears and brush them with vegetable oil before grilling. Place on serving plates and top with crumbled Roquefort cheese. Drizzle with port and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Nachos do not have to be savoury. Place tortilla chips on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips and grated white chocolate, as much as you want. Drizzle over some caramel sauce from a jar. Place the baking sheet on the grill and heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is gooey. Serve with ice cream.
For a more involved dish, try peanut butter and banana bread sandwiches.
Banana bread has been a big hit during this pandemic. This one-bowl banana bread recipe is easy, and grills to perfection in these sandwiches. If peanut butter is not your thing, try Nutella. If you are nut-free, try mascarpone and jam or any filling you like. Strawberries and mascarpone are a particular favourite of mine.
Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. salt in a large bowl Add ½ cup soft butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs and 2 cups mashed bananas. (3 or 4 depending on size). Beat together for 3 minutes with an electric beater. The mixture will be thick. Pop into a parchment-lined, greased loaf tin and bake for an hour at 350, or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Add ins, folded in at the end, can include chocolate chips, grated citrus rind, and nuts of any kind.
Cool fully and cut into 8 slices, about ½-inch thick. Combine ½ cup peanut butter or Nutella with ½ cup mascarpone or cream cheese. Spread one slice of banana bread with ⅓ cup peanut butter mixture, top with a second slice and press down to compress slightly. Repeat with remaining slices and filling. Preheat grill to medium high. Grill sandwiches for about 2 minutes a side or until grill-marked and slightly toasted. Cut in half and serve with Ice cream. You can use other kinds of sweet breads, such as zucchini, lemon or marmalade, to make these. They make a comforting, if sweet, lunch sandwich, too.
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