The Grill is Going Anyway: Make Dessert!
Have you ever heard of a kamado style grill? Perhaps not, but I bet you have seen one. They are the rounded or oval, often egg-shaped ceramic grills that some folks just go crazy for. In fact, this style of grill is the largest growing sector of the market. The have grate surfaces like all grills, but what distinguishes them is their thick ceramic bodies and rounded shape. Both of these factors create an oven-like environment and indeed they boast that they can grill, smoke and bake. Having never baked much outside, I thought it was high time that I did. Summer is still here, the kitchen is hot and I am grilling and making dinner outside. Why not keep the indoor oven off and take advantage of the coals and outdoor baking and dessert making potential? Grilling your desserts is easy…
I was set up with a large sized Infinity Grill Dome. This thing is sexy! Unpacking it and assembling it was exciting; this is a serious piece of equipment. The parts are heavy and it takes two people, but the quality of the workmanship was making me eager to bake! These grills allow you to cook anywhere from 200°F to over 750°F. The thick ceramic walls are built to hold heat, which allows more reliable temperature control while also using far less fuel, which by the way is hardwood charcoal. The charcoal and the smoke will give your desserts a unique campfire flavor that gas grilling cannot. There is a temperature gauge in the dome that will help you regulate and monitor the temperature, which is vital with baking; this is a very helpful design aspect. Also, the way the Grill Dome is built gives you three potential levels of heat: direct (down near the coals), standard (halfway within the done) and indirect (way up inside the dome). Not only does this increase your cooking and baking area, but it also offers a lot of versatility in terms of temperature regulation. Imagine potatoes baking down below, chicken in the middle and a cobbler baking up above, all at the same time! Below you can see a sweet pizza baking away.
I have learned a lot since I began baking and dessert making with my Grill Dome, so here is a primer to get you started. The first thing I learned is that this style grill fires up really quickly. In less than 10 minutes they are ready to go, similar to the time it would take to pre-heat your indoor oven. I found myself baking more and more outside because of the ease.
Our recipes will work with any covered grill, although the baking times and temperature regulation will vary, possibly hugely. If you have a Grill Dome or other kamado style grill, the recipes should work very well as written. Once you have read this primer, check out the recipes: Grilled Skillet Peach and Blueberry Cobbler; S’more Banana Boat Sundaes; Grilled Pound Cake with Maple Caramelized Pineapple; Sugar Glazed Challah with Nectarines and Crème Fraiche; Nutella Fondue with Grilled Fruit and Cake Kebobs; Grilled Baked Apples; Grilled Berry Tart; Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookies; Salted Caramel S’more Pizza; Grilled Nectarine Pizza with Dulce de Leche and Pecans; Grilled Cornbread and a Grilled S’mores Dip.
Rule Number 1 – Your ceramic covered grill is an oven
Most baking recipes call for a 350°F oven. Your ceramic covered grill can be regulated for that temperature, which means pretty much anything that calls for baking in a 350°F oven (or higher or lower) can be baked inside. It will just taste better because of the hardwood charcoal and smoke! Like with all ceramic covered grillcooking, you just have to familiarize yourself with temperature regulation and understand indirect heat cooking – or in this case, indirect baking. Use that thermometer to help gauge temperature, which of course varies depending on where you place the item to be baked – closer to the heat source, or farther up in the dome. Many baked items can withstand a little variation and you will learn from experience. A cobbler is forgiving. Meringues are not. Chocolate chip cookies bake perfectly. Check out our Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
Rule Number 2 – Make the Most of Indirect Heat
The Indirect Cooking Rack is your best friend as is a Pizza Stone. The indirect rack allows you to modulate the amount of heat reaching your baked good. The pizza stone can be used for tarts, galettes and sweet pizzas right on the stone, but it can also be used as a heat tamer. You can place cast iron pans on top of it for an extra layer of heat cushioning, such as with our Grilled S’mores Dip.
Rule Number 3 – Use What You Have
If you own a ceramic covered grill you are a serious cook and that means you probably already have some tools that you can use to help you make dessert in your grill. Cast-iron works wonderfully. I find my 9-inch cast-iron skillet to be the most useful for cobblers and tarts and cornbread, etc. It is the right size for the recipes and it fits, handle and all, on the surface of my large Grill Dome. Tongs and spatulas are a must for grabbing fruit and flipping any items that need to be moved. Wooden spoons are other wooden implements work well, also. If you don’t have the right cookware on hand, try disposable aluminum foil pans. For instance you could make our Grilled Skillet Peach and Blueberry Cobbler in a 9-inch round disposable pan, but know that these conduct heat very differently from high quality, heavy pans and the baking time might be different. Brushes some in handy for applying melted butter and glazes to desserts, just make sure they don’t taste and smell like BBQ sauce! Silicone pastry brushes clean up beautifully and don’t leave bristles behind stuck to your desserts!
Rule Number 4 – Plan Ahead
Let’s say you know you are going to have your ceramic covered grill going for a while with the main meal. With the extra racks you can increase your cooking surface and either bake at the same time – if the temperatures coincide – or, plan on using the ceramic covered grill to make dessert once you have taken the main dish off the grill. The idea is that you have the grill going, you are using fuel, why not take advantage and make dessert or a baked good, too? Note I said baked goods. Maybe you don’t want something sweet, but a cornbread could be baked alongside your meat as a side dish.
Rule Number 5 – Be Creative. Be Daring. Think Outside the Box
You own a ceramic covered grill so you fit this personality profile. Just as you like to play and experiment with your meats, marinades, sauces, poultry, game and fish, be as adventurous with desserts and baking. Check out our recipes for inspiration. The cornbread is basic; add some bacon. The tart features berries; why not try some other fruit? You get the idea. Use the recipes as guides to develop your own. You know how easy it is to fire up your ceramic covered grill, so Get Baking! Here is more information about ceramic covered grills, like Grill Domes.
Bakepedia was provided with a Grill Dome. All opinions are our own.