Archive for June, 2013

Whenever sugar meets heat, there’s the potential for burning. Work quickly and watch these apple rings closely to keep them from becoming overly browned. If necessary, grill the apple rings in batches. They make the perfect accompaniment for grilled pork. Or serve them with ice cream for dessert. You could even serve them alongside pancakes or waffles.

TIMING
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 2 to 4 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS – ABOUT 24 RINGS)
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 firm, crisp apples, such as Gala
Oil for coating grill grate.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Heat the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small, shallow dish in a microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat until just warm (15 to 30 seconds in the microwave).
3. Peel the apples. Using an apple corer or small, thin knife, core the apples from the stem through the blossom end. Cut the apples crosswise into rings about ¼ inch to 1/4 inch thick. Dip the apple rings into the syrup, then lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the apple rings on the grill and cook until the apples are nicely grill-marked yet almost firm enough to hold their shape, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Baste the apples with any remaining maple syrup.
5. Remove the apples to a serving plate and serve.

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Baked stuffed apples work beautifully on the grill. You could fill the apples with a simple mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. But when you want something more special, try this combination. We add roasted chestnuts and pecans to the stuffing, then drizzle the cooked apples with dulce de leche, a sweet and creamy dessert sauce made by cooking sweetened condensed milk until is thick and golden brown like butterscotch pudding.

TIMING
Prep: 15 minutes
Grill: About 1 hour.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Large cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty roasting pan
– Heat-resistant silicone scraper
– Grill skillet, flat-bottomed grill wok, or grill screen
– Aluminum foil.

TIPS
– When slitting the chestnut shells, take care not to cut through the nutmeats; otherwise, the nuts may break when you remove the shells.
– Remove the chestnut shells while they are still fairly warm (put them in a kitchen towel to protect your hands). If you let the chestnuts cool completely, the skins will adhere to the nuts, and shelling them will be more difficult.

THE GRILL
Gas:
Indirect heat, medium-low (250°F)
3- to 4-burner grill-middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on high setting.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1 can (about 14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons brandy
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 chestnuts
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup pecan pieces or chopped pecans
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, chopped
6 Rome apples or other large baking apples
1 cup apple cider.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Mix the condensed milk, 2 tablespoons of the brandy, and ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon in a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty roasting pan until combined.
3. Slit through the chestnut shells on the rounded sides of the chestnuts, put them in a grill skillet, flat-bottomed grill wok, or grill screen, and put the pan or screen on the grill directly over the heat.
4. Put the skillet containing the milk mixture on the grill away from the direct heat, cover, and cook until the mixture boils, 8 to 10 minutes. Scrape the pan, especially the bottom, and stir the mixture with a heat-resistant scraper. At the same time, shake the pan of chestnuts and, if they have opened and smell toasty, remove from the grill. If not, cook for another 5 minutes and check again. Cover the grill and cook the dulce de leche until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, like pudding, about 15 minutes more, scraping every 5 minutes to make sure the bottom doesn’t overcook.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble up; stir until the bubbles subside. Pass through a strainer into a bowl, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons brandy; set aside until serving. Wash out the skillet or roasting pan, but not too well.
6. Remove the shells from the chestnuts (see Tips) and chop the chestnuts coarsely. Combine in a bowl with the pecans, flour, brown sugar, and butter. Pinch with your fingers until the mixture is blended.
7. Cut the apples in half vertically and remove the core from each half with the large scoop of a melon baller. Put the apples in the cleaned pan, cut-sides up, and fill the center of each half with some of the chestnut mixture. Pour the apple cider around and over the apples, and sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon over the top. Cover the pan with foil.
8. Put the pan on the grill away from direct heat, cover the grill, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the cider has reduced to a thin syrup.
9. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve half an apple per person, topped with a little of the apple cider syrup and drizzled with some of the brandy dulce de leche. You will probably have more dulce de leche than you need; store any extra in a covered container in the refrigerator and rewarm in a microwave before serving.

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