Apples & Pears Grilled with Mulling Spices

by | Monday, October 20, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

It’s great to grill in the fall, cooler temperatures and lower humidity make it an absolute joy to build a fire and get some hot coals going!

My birthday is in October and as a child my favorite way of celebrating was to go apple-picking with my friends: I loved the fresh apple cider donuts, the cider, and the crisp fresh apples, Macs and Cortlands of course, this was long before antique varieties made a comeback, and my mother couldn’t abide a Red Delicious.Apples are now part of my fall consciousness.

And so it was that with apples on my mind, I read an article on grilling fall foods; it focused on squash and winter vegetables, but not apples.And, come to think of it, I had never grilled apples.There is something so wrong about that...

Grilling Apples and Pears:

Grilled fruit like apples and pears can be a nice addition to pork and duck dishes, as a condiment for cheese; or they can play center stage as a fabulous, not overly sweetened dessert---which is how I used them the other day.

I set out to grill apples and to lightly flavor them by tossing Mulling Spices on the hot coals.I had an Asian Pear kicking around and decided to play with that too---and I’m glad I did, it stole the show!

This was definitely a learning experience...

          I learned through trial and error (as I’m sure anyone with grilling experience can tell you); don’t toss the mulling spices on the coals while the apples are cooking--they really burn the apple.Oops!

          I also learned that the coals need to be quite hot. In the end I built my coals up to about 2" from the grate. In my first attempt, I thought a cooler cooking temperature would allow the apple to cook thoroughly without burning, but it was too cool and I started to make dried apples.

          The Mulling Spices are great to work with--and Star Anise is, in my opinion, a requirement---the flavor really comes through.

          Core the fruit first---I tried it both ways.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh apple (I used my current favorite, Macoun) cut in half and cored
  • Asian Pear, cut in half and cored
  • Mulling Spices (recipe to follow) or Whole Star Anise
  • Mascarpone Cheese, lightly sweetened with Maple Syrup

Directions:

Build hot coals up to about 2-3"from the grate.Toss a small handful of Mulling Spices on the coals (for 2 halves of apple or pear maybe 2TBL, if you’re using straight star anise 3-4 stars) .Once the fire has stopped, place the fruit, skin side down and put the cover on the grill.Cook the apples until juice appears between the peel and on the cut side of the apple (the Asian Pear doesn’t behave in the same way, cook it until it seems softened), turn the fruit and cook until desired color, texture.

Slice up or serve whole with the maple sweetened mascarpone cheese--or fresh heavy cream. Drizzle a little extra maple syrup over the top if you like.

Mulling Spices: This is my recipe---it’s so much fun to make!!

1 part coarsely pulverized cinnamon sticks (about 1")

½ part dried orange peel

¼ part whole allspice berries

¼ part whole cloves

¼ part whole star anise

For mulling cider, wine or cranberry juice use ¼ cup per gallon. Simmer for 30-40 mins.

*This is a fun project for kids; have them bang-up the cinnamon sticks with a rolling pin or in a mortar and pestle.Package the spices in cheesecloth sachets and give them as gifts.


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