~ A quick, simple solution for keeping your kitchen cool – dessert on the grill! Warm, caramelized pineapple and bananas are perfectly accented by a sweet almond-ricotta sauce. For a final flourish – add a few refreshing, beautiful summer berries! So easy yet so impressive! ~
It’s high grilling season. In the oppressive heat of summer, the grill is the place to be! No steaming up the kitchen or preheating the oven. No scouring pots and pans in hot sudsy water. Nope, not for you, oh clever grill master!
Once you’ve got that grill all fired up for the main event (say, maybe for some delicious Grilled Pizza), it only makes sense to finish off the meal with a grilled dessert. Right? Definitely!
This is about as easy as dessert can get!
Sweet, gently warmed bananas and perfectly caramelized pineapple are highlighted by a cool and creamy almond-ricotta sauce. For an extra flavor twist, finish the presentation with cold, sweet-tart summer berries … raspberries, strawberries, blackberries … whatever you have in the fridge. Maybe a sprinkling of tropical, summery coconut. Mmmmmmm! It’s a stunning combination of warm and cool, sweet and tangy … so simple to make, yet surprisingly complex in taste.
For the almond-ricotta sauce, just mix Greek yogurt, ricotta, brown sugar and almond extract in a small bowl. Let it chill while you work with the fruit.
Next, cut your fruit into “planks.”
For the bananas, just leave them in their peels and slice them in half crosswise, then lengthwise.
Technique Note: It’s really important that you DON’T peel your bananas before grilling! We’ve (foolishly) tried grilling bananas both ways, and can promise you that grilling them after they’ve already been peeled leads to a gloppy mess with broken-off banana chunks falling through the grates. Such a sad end to a promising dessert!
Then, cut your peeled, cored pineapple into similarly-sized planks.
Ingredient Note: Honestly, although a whole pineapple is beautiful in all its spiny, tropical glory, we usually just grab the containers of pre-cored pineapple that our market’s employees have kindly prepared for us. It’s really not a big difference in price, but it sure makes a difference in your prep time!
Make-Ahead Tip: This dessert is incredibly quick to prepare, but you can make mealtime even easier by mixing up the sauce and cutting the pineapple planks earlier in the day. Easier yet, the sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for a day or two. Might want to hold off on cutting the bananas too far in advance, though. Brown bananas … ewww!
When you’re ready to grill, first lay just the pineapple on your preheated grill, set at about medium to medium-high. Close the lid, but peek often, turning each plank to a new side once it has pretty grill marks. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
When the pineapple is nearly finished, add your bananas to the grill. They should be laid out with the peel side facing up so you get those nice sear marks across the flesh of the fruit.
The bananas will go very quickly, depending on how “done” you prefer yours. Most all of our testers liked the bananas just barely cooked, so they’re still really firm and not mushy. So, we leave them on just long enough for them to be a bit warm with those smoky-looking grill marks, and then take them off before they get to the mushy stage.
Once your fruit is done, divide it among individual plates or pile it all onto a large serving platter, carefully removing the banana peels as you go. Drizzle with the almond-ricotta sauce, or serve it in a bowl on the side, and then top off the whole gorgeous thing with bright summer berries if you have some. (If you don’t have some, gobble this right up anyway – don’t let a lack of berries prevent you from making it!) A light sprinkling of flaked coconut would also be delicious! Go with what you’ve got on hand – there’s no wrong answer here!And so … dessert is served in a jiffy (ooooh – and it’s super-healthy, too!). Your kitchen is still cool and comfy in the summer heat. And your family is happy, happy! Well done … high-five to you!
We’d Love to Hear From You!
The grill is no longer reserved for burgers and dogs. From salads to avocados to watermelon … it’s all fair game. (Well, to be honest, we can’t remember seeing a recipe for grilled popsicles, but that’s probably not far off!) So, we want to know: what’s the most surprisingly great food you’ve ever grilled?
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- ½ cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup fat-free ricotta cheese (see note)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 8 "planks" cut from 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
- 2 bananas, unpeeled, cut crosswise and then lengthwise into 4 "planks" each
- fresh berries and/or flaked coconut, optional
- Combine yogurt, ricotta, brown sugar and almond extract in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.
- Clean your grill if needed. Oil the grates (preferably using a canola-soaked, wadded paper towel).
- Preheat grill on medium to medium-high.
- Lay pineapple crosswise on grates and close the lid. Turn pineapple occasionally to develop grill marks on all sides, which should take about 8-10 minutes.
- In the last few minutes of grilling, add unpeeled bananas to the grill, peel side up and crosswise on grates. Grill bananas on flesh side only, just until gently warmed with sear marks. We recommend that you don't grill them so long that they begin to get hot and mushy, but that is strictly personal preference.
- Remove fruit from grill, and serve with chilled almond-ricotta sauce and fresh berries and/or coconut (optional).
2. Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill.