| Monday, October 20, 2014 |
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
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
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
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
- 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
- Mascarpone Cheese, lightly sweetened with Maple
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!!
coarsely pulverized cinnamon sticks (about 1")
½ part dried
¼ part whole
¼ part whole
¼ part whole
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.