Grillin' Up Dessert: Fresh Fruit Over Fire

Now that summer is finally here, everyone's eager to get outdoors and get to grilling. While a lot of people think grilling is just for burgers and hot dogs, you can grill just about anything.

So why stop with the main course?

Nutritionist Robin Miller, the star of Food Network's "Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller" and author of "Robin Rescues Dinner," showed on The Early Show Monday how to grill an unlikely dish: a fresh fruit dessert.

There's plenty of great fresh fruit available at the market this time of year, Miller points out. But why just throw it into a fruit salad when you can grill fruit desserts instead?

Because desserts can change with the seasons, Miller said, grilled fresh fruits are a great way of capturing the summer. Miller said putting fruit on the grill enables the flame to interact with the natural sugars of the fruit, creating unique caramelized flavors.

Fruit grilling tips:

1. Coat the grill with cooking spray or vegetable oil so fruit doesn't stick.
2. Brush fruit with butter or vegetable oil to ensure it doesn't stick to grill.
3. Grill fruit just enough to get grill marks and slightly soften the flesh -- don't overcook.
4. Choose firm fruits that can hold up to grilling; slightly underripe fruit is fine.
5. Cook over medium to medium-high heat to prevent burning (or use the sides of grill, not the hot center).


Grilled Peach Tiramisu

4 ripe but firm peaches, halved and pitted
Canola oil
8 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8-12 Ladyfinger cookies, crumbled
8 tablespoons whipped cream
Cocoa powder or shaved chocolate

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Brush both sides of peaches with oil. Arrange peaches flesh-side-down on prepared grill and grill 2 minutes. Flip and grill 1 more minute. Remove from grill and, when cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch peaches.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mascarpone, milk, sugar, and vanilla extra. Whisk until smooth.

In tall parfait glasses, layer crumbled ladyfingers, mascarpone mixture and then peaches. Repeat layers, ending with peaches. Top with whipped cream and cocoa powder (sift cocoa over for a fine dusting) or shaved chocolate (use a vegetable peeler for fine shavings).

Serves 4

Grilled Bananas and Mango with Fluffy Chocolate Dip

2 large, firm bananas, halved lengthwise
2 mangos, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices (or 4 mangos so you can make the salsa below)
Canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons rum, optional
1 1/2 cups non-dairy whipped topping

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Brush both sides of bananas and mango with oil. Arrange fruit on prepared grill and grill 2 minutes. Flip and grill 1 more minute. Remove from grill and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine cocoa, milk and butter. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Whisk in rum. Fold in whipped topping.
Serve chocolate dip with grill fruit on the side for dunking (you may also serve with sugar cookies, fresh cherries and strawberries).

Serves 4

Grilled Pineapple with Honey, Toasted Almonds and Coconut
12 pineapple rings (fresh or canned in juice)
Canola oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds (toast in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown)
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (if desired, toast in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until golden brown)
1/2 cup honey
Fresh mint, optional

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Brush both sides of pineapple with oil. Arrange the pineapple rings on the prepared grill and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. While still warm, drizzle honey over pineapple and then top with toasted almonds and coconut. Garnish with mint if desired.

Serves 4

Brown Sugar Grilled Plums with Lemon Sorbet
Cooking spray
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large or 8 small plums, halved and pitted
2 cups lemon sorbet
Fresh mint for garnish

Coat an outdoor grill or stove-top grill pan with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Brush mixture all over fresh side of plums. Grill plums, flesh side down, 5 mins until soft. Serve plums with lemon sorbet. Garnish with mint.