7 Grilled Desserts Sweetening Up Your Memorial Day

There’s no better way to celebrate the unofficial start of summer than by firing up the grill to cook some delicious foods for your friends. Burgers and chicken might be on deck for the main attraction, but nobody really remembers what you make for the entrée. Serve an impressive dessert, and they’ll never forget it. Instead of worrying about multitasking to the max by baking something, use the grill to your advantage. These 7 stunning grilled desserts get loads of flavor that can only come from that char. Serve up one of these sweet treats, and you’re bash will go down in history.

1. Dessert Pizza

fruit pizza

Dessert pizza | iStock.com

Grilled pizza has had quite the boom in recent years. It hasn’t caught on for dessert just yet, but this version from Food Network’s Bobby Flay is about to change that. While many dessert pies go the gooey chocolate route, this version is fresher and brighter with a slick of mascarpone and plenty of fresh berries. Even serial dieters will be pleased when they get a look, and even more pleased when they get a taste.

This recipe calls for plums, which aren’t in season yet. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect, though, a quick grill will soften them just a bit and bring out the natural sweetness. Also, feel free to substitute other fruits you like. Just avoid anything too juicy so you don’t end up with a soggy crust.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball store-bought pizza dough
  • Canola oil, for brushing
  • 1½ cups mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 plums, cut into wedges, and grilled
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Directions: Heat the grill to high heat. Shape dough into a 12-inch round on a flat surface. Brush top with oil and add to grill, oiled-side down. Cook until golden, 1 minute. Rotate 90 degrees and cook for another minute, until evenly browned, another minute. Top will begin to bubble.

Flip dough over and grill until golden and just firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove crust to a sheet pan.

Combine mascarpone and honey. Smear mixture over pizza and scatter fruit on top. Place pizza on sheet pan back on grill, close cover, and cook to warm through, about 2 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve.

2. Grilled Dessert Nachos

Tortilla chips can be used to make grilled desserts

Tortilla chips can be used to make grilled desserts | iStock.com

It’s unlikely Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya predicted his cheesy chip concoction would reach the culinary status it has today when he created the first plate in 1943. It’s even more unlikely that he would have guessed it would one day be morphed into a dessert, but he would probably approve of Restless Chipotle’s version. Covered with chocolate, pecans, and caramel, this sweet dessert has all the flavors of a candy bar delivered on a crunchy bed of chips.

This recipe offers a method for frying homemade tortilla chips, but we like to buy purchased corn chips instead. It’s easier, and offers a salty kick that goes great with the rest of the sweet toppings. Just toss the chips in a disposable pan with some cinnamon sugar, add the toppings, then cover, and cook for just long enough to melt the chocolate. These treats may be unusual, but they just might become your new favorite.

Ingredients:

  • Oil for frying
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, grated
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 disposable aluminum pan, holes poked through sides

Directions: Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a heavy, deep pan. Fry tortillas until golden and crisp, working in batches. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Heat grill to medium. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and sugar in a paper lunch sack, shake warm tortillas with sugar mixture to coat. Place in the aluminum pan. Top with chocolate chips, caramel, then sprinkle with pecans, Add white chocolate, and place on grill. Close cover and cook until chocolate is melted, checking every 3 to 4 minutes. Serve.

3. Grilled Banana Splits with Hot Fudge and Rum Caramel Sauce

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Grilled banana split | iStock.com

Make a classic sundae even more delectable by grilling up some tasty fruit. These banana splits from Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril at The Grill, featured on Martha Stewart, are so delicious that you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried this method before. Just halve some unpeeled bananas, drizzle each with a bit of honey, and sprinkle with brown sugar. The fruit takes just a few minutes to caramelize, then pop them out of the skins, and plate them up with all of the toppings. Don’t forget the cherry on top.

Ingredients:

Bananas

  • 6 ripe, but firm, unpeeled bananas, halved lengthwise
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • ¾ cup packed light-brown sugar

To Serve

Directions: Preheat grill to high, and lightly oil the grate. Place banana halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and drizzle evenly with honey. Sprinkle on the brown sugar. Place bananas, cut side up, directly on the grill, arranging so they are perpendicular to grate. Close cover and cook until bananas caramelize around edges and fruit begins to recede from peel, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer banana halves to small baking sheet. Remove banana halves form skins gently using 2 forks. Place 2 pieces of banana on each plate, and top with 1 to 2 scoops of ice cream. Drizzle with sauces, and top with whipped cream and nuts. Top each with a cherry and serve.

4. Grilled Strawberry Shortcake with Balsamic Vinegar

strawberry, balsamic

Strawberries | iStock.com

Don’t let the elegant name fool you, this 5-ingredient dessert from foodiecrush is a complete breeze to prepare. Before you grill the angel food cake, you’ll want to start by macerating strawberries in some balsamic vinegar and a pinch of black pepper. It’s a simple method to create an intensely flavored sauce as the acid pulls the liquid out of the fruit. Don’t be scared off by the pepper, either. It’s less of a flavoring agent and more of a flavor enhancer in this role.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 to 6 (1-inch-thick) slices angel food cake
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • Whipped cream

Directions: Mix strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch or two of pepper in a small bowl. Allow to sit at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat grill until hot. Butter slices of cake, and cook until golden on both sides.

Transfer slices to plates, top with scoop of berries, and drizzle with juices. Top with whipped cream, more pepper, if desired, and serve.

5. Grilled Raspberry Cheesecake Turnovers

raspberry pastry

Grilled raspberry cheesecake turnovers | iStock.com

Cheesecake is a great anytime dessert. Unfortunately, it also requires a lot of advanced planning since it takes so long to bake, cool, and chill. These grilled raspberry cheesecake turnovers from Sarah’s Cucina Bella have the same taste, but come together in a flash. With a crisp crust and a gooey filling, they might actually be better than the real thing.

Mix together some cream cheese with lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla extract. Smear the mixture onto quartered pie crusts, top with a dollop of jam, then fold them over, and seal the edges. Cook until both sides are golden, then get ready to dig in.

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam, divided

Directions: Preheat grill to medium heat. Unroll pie crust and slice into quarters.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until fluffy, scraping sides as needed.

Divide cream cheese mixture among crust. Top with each with 1 tablespoon of jam. Moisten edges of crust, then fold each into a triangle, pinching edges to seal.

Cook on grill for 5 to 7 minutes, until bottoms are firm and lightly browned. Gently flip with a spatula, and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until dough is fully cooked. Serve.

6. Easy Rum-Soaked Grilled Pineapple

grilled pineapple, ice cream

Rum soaked grilled pineapple | iStock.com

Fake a trip to the tropics with Gimme Some Oven’s easy cookout dessert. Just mix the rum, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then add the sliced pineapple. After letting the fruit marinate, pop the rings onto the grill, and reduce the leftover sauce until it’s thick. Serve up the pineapple with a scoop of ice cream, and a drizzle of the sauce for one sweet treat.

If you’re cooking for kids, or avoiding alcohol, you can sub apple juice for the rum. And this method works with a bunch of different fruits. Try it with everything from peaches to mango.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dark rum
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more
  • 1 pineapple, cored, and cut into 6 to 8 rings
  • Cooking Spray
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Directions: In a small bowl, mix rum, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour mixture over pineapple in a shallow baking dish. Turn to coat, and let marinate for at least 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Heat grill to medium-high and oil grate with cooking spray. Strain excess sauce from dish and cook in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until reduced by half. This can be done on the grill, just monitor to make sure it doesn’t reduce too much. Set aside.

Grill pineapple slices 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until browned and marks appear. Transfer to plates. Top each with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with sauce. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

7. Grilled Pound Cake with Espresso Chocolate Sauce

chocolate sauce

Chocolate sauce | iStock.com

Sometimes the simplest desserts are the best ones, and this delicious cake and sauce combo from Better Homes and Gardens proves it. An easy chocolate sauce comes together in just a few minutes and gets a flavorful boost from some espresso powder. The cake gets a drizzle of orange juice before a fast trip to the grill. Serve up the slices with a drizzle of the rich sauce, a bit of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of pistachios. No one will suspect just how easy it was to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1¾ cups whipping cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) pound cake
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios

Directions: Combine water and coffee powder in a small bowl, set aside. In a small heavy saucepan, combine ¾ cup whipping cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in coffee mixture, then chocolate. Let stand, covered, for 4 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Cut cake into 8 (¾-inch-thick) slices. Poke each slice with fork and drizzle with orange juice.

Heat grill to medium-hot and grill slices of cake for 2 to 4 minutes, until toasted and heated through, turning halfway through.

Whip remaining cream. Top each cake slice with sauce, whipped cream, and pistachios. Serve.

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