Memorial Day is often considered to be the start of the summer grilling season. It comes right near the end of the school year and it is the time when the whether really starts to warm up all over the country. A backyard barbecue is a must to kick off the season (even if you grill the rest of the year) and a good excuse to have a party. Whether you grill burgers, hot dogs, skirt steak or chicken, you need to end a good barbecue with a great dessert and these delicious ideas will ensure that your party ends on a high note!
Grilled fruit is one of the simplest and most delicious desserts that you can have at a barbecue or other cookout. The summer grilling season is when many fruits are at their peak, and grilling them only serves to make them even more flavorful. Once your fruit is grilled, you can serve it with ice cream.
Grilled Peach Sundaes are one of my favorites. You can also turn your grilled fruit – or roasted fruit – into a shortcake by pairing it with buttery biscuits and plenty of whipped cream, as in this Roasted Strawberry Shortcake or these Grilled Peach Shortcakes.
The Tomato Tarte Tatin (pictured above) is a sweet and savory dish that is a real showstopper, even though it is incredibly easy to make. The tart starts with a skillet full of caramel sauce, which is covered with cherry tomatoes and a layer of puff or pie pastry. The whole thing is baked until the pastry is golden, then turned out to reveal the flavorful, caramelized tomatoes.
As long as your grill is fired up, make some Grilled Artichokes. They are a wonderful way to enjoy this summer favorite. Simply clean the artichokes and cut off the prickly tops, then steam them until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. This can all be done ahead of time and the artichokes can be cooled. Next, slice them in half and coat them generously in olive oil, then throw them on the grill for a few minutes! They can be served hot or at room temperature. They’re a great side dish to almost any main course, and they can also be served as an appetizer while sharing wine or sangria before the main dishes come out.
These colorful Patriotic Peanut M&M Cookies are a fun project for the kids this weekend. The simple cookie dough comes together quickly and is a delicious backdrop for the red, white and blue peanut-filled candies. I find that peanut M&Ms hold up a lot better to baking than their smaller counterparts, retaining their shape and color much more clearly. Serve these with a big glass of ice cold milk.
Don’t forget that fresh fruits are coming into season faster than you can eat them all, too. Showcase some with this Blueberry and Nectarine Cobbler. As is the case with most fruit cobblers, this dessert is not fussy and can be prepared well in advance, which makes it a great choice for any party. The fruit filling is rich and sweet, the perfect contrast for the buttery lemon cobbler topping. You might want to double the recipe, since it also makes great leftovers that you can enjoy the next day.
Red, White and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake is a moist white cake that is studded with colorful blueberries and raspberries. It’s a delicious use of in-season fruit and the berries add beautiful pops of color to the cake. Fresh berries also make a nice garnish for the cake before serving.