“Life is Uncertain…Eat Dessert First” –Ernestine Ulmer
At GrateTV, we agree. We do a bunch of grilling and smoking on the Grate. What we don’t do is grill enough desserts. Why? Quite frankly, it’s because there just aren’t that many desserts to grill. We aim to change that. Send us your dessert ideas and we will put them to the test.
To get the proverbial ball rolling, here is a riff on an oldie but goodie grilled banana recipe. We tried both plantains and bananas. The plantains were good, but the bananas were scrumptious. All of the chocolate bars were delicious, but the Almond Joy got the huge thumbs up from both Jack and Bill. Give these recipes a try. Grill it…eat it!
Start by gathering up all of your ingredients. The sky is the limit for these delectable treats. Suggestions: Any kind chocolate bar, marshmallows, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, hot fudge, sweetened coconut, cookies, gram crackers, jimmies, sprinkles, chocolate chips of any kind, cinnamon, fruit pie fillings, and of course, the whole shebang wouldn’t be the same without ice cream to serve on the side. For our demonstration today we chose a variety of chocolate bars, sweetened coconut and vanilla ice cream. Easy and delicious!
We started by building a nice coal bed in the fire pit. We used a whole chimney so we could have enough heat surfaces to make 4 – 6 desserts. We used lump charcoal because that’s what we had on hand. The type of charcoal probably dosent makes a big difference. You could use the coals from a campfire if you were on a family trip. It’s been done hundreds of times. We didn’t invent this; we are just bringing it up as a great way to make a grilled dessert.
The plantains were a good solid alternative to the bananas. They were sturdy and held up to the heat well. Choose ripe plantains for this application. Ripe plantains are very yellow with large black splotches, a little giving to the touch. They look like they should have been culled by the produce clerks, but they are the best for peel and eat. Green plantains need to be cooked longer and sweetened. If you are choosing to use bananas, choose ripe, but not over ripe fruit.
Preparation is easy. Make an incision with a sharp knife down one side of the fruit. Pry it open with your fingers to make a “boat”. Fill the boat with your favorite toppings. Prepare as many as you desire.
Take the delectable fruits of your labor directly to the fire pit and lay them right on the coals. Allow them to cook for a few minutes to melt the chocolate and allow the sweets to marry well in their fruit wrapper.
Carefully remove them from the fire with a shovel or long spatula and place them on a tray or board to cool. Once they are cooled remove them from the peel to a plate or serve them right in the peel. They are delicious both ways.
Top these sweet treats with ice cream and enjoy a grilled dessert that’s hard to pass up!
What is a Plantain?
Plantains are a member of the banana family.
They are a starchy, low in sugar variety that is cooked before serving as it is unsuitable raw. It is used in many savory dishes somewhat like a potato would be used and is very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries. It is usually fried or baked.
Plantains are native to India and are grown most widely in tropical climates.
Plantains are sometimes referred to as the pasta and potatoes of the Caribbean.
Plantains are sold in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, they usually resemble green bananas but ripe plantains may be black in color. This vegetable-banana can be eaten and tastes different at every stage of development. The interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. When the peel is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.
The plantain averages about 65% moisture content and the banana averages about 83% moisture content. Since hydrolysis, the process by which starches are converted to sugars, acts fastest in fruit of higher moisture content it converts starches to sugars faster in bananas than it does in plantains. A banana is ready to eat when the skin is yellow whereas a plantain is not ready to eat “out of hand” until hydrolysis has progressed to the point where the skin is almost black.
Plantains grow best in areas with constant warm temperatures and protection from strong winds. They have been grown in scattered locations throughout Florida since the 16th century. Because of the occasional freezes, Florida is considered a marginal area for plantain production. They are available year round in the supermarket and in some cases can be substituted in a banana recipe.