Grilled desserts highlight fruits’ natural sugars

Denise Neil

It’s dinnertime in the heat of the summer. The last thing you want to do is turn on the oven.

But if you’re not in an ice cream mood, how else are you going to prepare a dessert that will impress your guests without heating up the house?

Make it on the grill.

Creative cooks have come up with all kinds of ways to prepare sweet treats outdoors, and their ideas expand beyond the predictable (but always-appreciated) s’more.

You’d be amazed how good fruit tastes when the flames caramelize the natural sugars inside them. Peaches, pineapple and watermelon are particularly complemented by flames.

You’d also be amazed how effective a good grill can be at baking things, including biscuits on top of peach cobbler.

Following are a few simple and quick recipes for grilled desserts that will surprise your guests and keep you from sweating in the kitchen.

Grilled Peach Cobbler


7 cups 1/2-inch fresh peach slices or 2 (20-ounce) bags frozen sliced peaches, thawed and drained

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter, melted

Heat one side of grill to medium-high (350 to 400 degrees). Place peaches in a large bowl. Stir together sugar and next four ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over peaches and stir gently to combine. Spoon peach mixture into a buttered 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces over peaches. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil.

Place skillet over lit side of grill and grill, covered, until bubbling and hot, about 15 minutes.

Biscuit topping: Stir together flour and next two ingredients in a small bowl. Make a well in the center and add cream and melted butter. Stir just until mixture comes together. Uncover grill and discard foil; dollop peaches with dough mixture. Cover with grill lid and grill until biscuits are browned, about 15 minutes more.

Remove skillet from grill and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

— Southern Living

Grilled Doughnuts with Mint Julep and Strawberry Basil Dip

The flames from the grill remelt the glaze on the doughnuts, which then cools and leaves behind a nice crunch. And both of these dips are just as good as fruit dips.

8 glazed doughnuts

Nonstick cooking spray

1 recipe Mint Julep Dip

1 recipe Strawberry Basil Dip


6 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon packed fresh mint leaves

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

( 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons bourbon


6 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled (about 1 1/4 cups)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

( 1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves

Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-low. Coat doughnuts with cooking spray. Grill doughnuts, covered, until lightly browned, 30 seconds to one minute per side. Watch closely to avoid burning. Serve grilled doughnuts with Mint Julep Dip and Strawberry Basil Dip.

— Better Homes and


Grilled Watermelon with Yogurt

The only sweetness in this recipe comes from the watermelon, but the savory yogurt sauce plays off of it beautifully.

1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or homemade Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 3-inch-long triangles of seedless red watermelon, about 1 inch thick

1/4 cup small mint leaves

Light a grill. In a bowl, combine the yogurt with the lemon juice, vinegar, thyme and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the watermelon triangles with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until nicely charred, about one minute per side; transfer to plates.

Top the watermelon with the yogurt sauce and season with black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the mint and serve.

— Michael Psilakis, Food & Wine