Grilled Strawberry Shortcake with Creole Cream Cheese

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by Frank Davis

wwltv.com

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 1:12 AM

Grilling Pineapple:

1 Large pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch thick slices (or 2-inch cubes)
3/4  Cup New Orleans dark rum
3/4 Cup light brown sugar
1-1/2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Mix the rum, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon together until the sugar is totally dissolved.  In the meantime, preheat the grill and oil the grates.  Then place the pineapple slices (or the pineapple chucks on skewers) on the grill.  Every so often, baste the pineapple with the rum mixture while the fruit grills.  It is important to turn the fruit occasionally to keep it from scorching.  Ideally, the pineapple should be on the grill for anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes.  I suggest you serve grilled pineapple hot off the grill with a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream.  

Chef’s Note: To keep the integrity of the pineapple slices, it is perfectly okay to leave outer peel on the fruit and remove it when eating.

Grilling Peaches:

3 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
3/4 Cup balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
2 Teaspoons freshly ground black peppercorns
2 LARGE Fresh peaches with peel, but halved and pitted
2-1/2 OUNCES Blue cheese crumbled

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the white sugar, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.  Simmer until the liquid has been reduced to one half of its original volume.   Note:  It should become slightly thicker.  But when that happens, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside.  Next, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil or spray the grate.  When the temp comes up to medium-hot, set the peaches on the grate cut side down.  Then grill them for about 5 minutes or until the flesh is caramelized.  Note:  Watch the fruit carefully—caramelization happens quickly and is preceded only seconds by burning!
Now all that’s left is to turn the peaches over onto the skin side, brush the top side with the balsamic glaze, and grill them for another 2-3 minutes.

When they’re done and ready to serve, transfer them to individual serving dishes, drizzle each half with the remaining glaze, and lightly sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.

Grilling Bananas or Plantains:                               

The Honey Glaze:
6 Small semi-ripe (slightly green) bananas or 3 large plantains
1 Stick unsalted butter, melted
¼ Cup Louisiana clover or cucuzza honey
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
¾ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons dark New Orleans rum
Vanilla ice cream or fruit glaze dips

Stir together all the honey glaze ingredients until they’re smooth.  Then set the glaze aside for a while.
Next, do not peel the bananas but slice them in half crosswise, then lengthwise. You will end up with 4 pieces, each about 4 inches long and a little over a ½ inch thick.  At this point, add the ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of dark rum to the honey glaze. 
Now, using a pastry brush, coat the banana pieces (both cut side and peel side) with the glaze.  Then grill them over direct, medium-heat for 6-8 minutes, turning them gently once, until the cut side becomes a toasty light brown.

For plums: Cut the fruit in halves and remove the pits.  Then toss each half gently in the honey glaze.  Grill them cut side down over direct heat for 10-12 minutes, turning after 7 or 8 minutes.  Just don’t let them scorch or burn!
Alternative banana method: 6 firm bananas not quite ripe yet, 2 tablespoons lemon juice,  2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1-1/4 cups brown sugar.

Now carefully remove the peel and cut the bananas or plantains in halves both crosswise and lengthwise.  When they’re sliced, sprinkle each cut half with lemon juice.  Then combine the cinnamon and the brown sugar in an oval bowl and dredge the exposed surface of the bananas in the sugar mixture.  At this point, set the halves on a well oiled grill grate and cook them for 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove the bananas from the grill and serve with your favorite ice cream or topping.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake:
Pre-soaked skewers
Fresh trimmed small strawberries
1 Heavy butter pound cake cut into 2 inch squares
1 Bottle strawberry ice cream topping
1 Tub creole cream cheese
A half-dozen packets of artificial sweetner.

On a handful of pre-soaked skewers, begin “kabobing” the strawberries and the pound cake side by side.  Then, carefully, place them on the medium-hot grill and watch them close.  Once they heat up, drizzle the ice cream topping evenly over the berries and the cake and continue grilling until the cake begins to toast.  At that point, remove the skewers from the grill, transfer the berries and the cake from the skewers to a small serving bowl, and spoon a generous couple of tablespoons of Creole cream cheese over both the berries and the cake.  Finish the dessert by lightly sprinkling them with a touch of artificial sweetener.  I recommend you serve and eat them right off the grill. 

Other grilling fruits: Cantaloupe chunks, Fuji or Granny Smith apple slices, honeydew melon squares, Enjou or Bartlett pear slices or halves, mango slices, papaya halves, green, red, or black seedless grapes, and whatever else suits your fancy.  Almost every fruit can be grilled.  All it takes is a little imagination!

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