I love a good challenge.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I knew of any good gluten-free desserts that could be grilled. I didn’t. I love to grill desserts, but have never had to adhere to any kind of dietary rules or restrictions until now. Typically, my grilled desserts consist of a seasonal fruit whose flavors intensify after being cooked over charcoal. I decided on making a gluten-free grilled dessert pizza, which highlights some of my favorite sweet flavors of summer.
Always wanting to make a large pizza-sized chocolate chip cookie on the grill, I thought that a giant cookie would make a fantastic crust for the grilled dessert pizza. I followed the directions on a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and combined the ingredients in my stand mixer. The directions called for mixing the ingredients for about two minutes but at about the two-minute mark, my mix resembled soft wet sand. I let the mixer slowly do its thing and at about the five-minute mark, it came together like a cohesive ball of firm cookie dough.
My grill was set up for indirect cooking and the temperature was stable at 350F as suggested on the baking directions. I pressed the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough between a top and bottom sheet of parchment paper and rolled it into about a 10-inch circle that resembled a cookie. The dough went onto the grill atop a piece of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking.
The cookie directions mentioned baking for 12-14 minutes, but I checked it at 10 minutes. The cookie had grown in size and spread to about a 14″ circle.This was quite a bit more than I had planned for but, fortunately, my pizza stone had room to spare.
I removed the cookie from the grill to cool while I sliced up a couple of peaches into thick wedges and got them grilling, cut-side down. The peaches grilled for about 12 minutes a side at 350F. They went on the grill very crispy and crunchy, under-ripe and, dare I say, bland. Something magical happens when you grill peaches. I watched them caramelize and get sweeter over the direct charcoal heat. The texture also changed from crisp to incredibly soft. Some of the smaller pieces seemed almost spreadable.
Grilled peaches have a tendency to be quite sweet and I chose mascarpone cheese to balance the flavor with a slightly sour and creamy richness. Where I live in western Montana, the wild huckleberries are ripe now and as sweet as can be. Huckleberries have a much stronger smell and taste than a blueberry, and seem to be much juicer as well. I added about a cup of wild huckleberries to the mascarpone cheese and blended it in the stand mixer into a spread that smelled wonderful and stained purple from the berries. I spread the mascarpone and huckleberry cheese over the top of the large cookie as a foundation.
Then I sliced the peaches thinly and topped the gluten-free dessert pizza so you could get a taste in every bite. My goal was building a multi-level taste foundation so that immediately when you take a bite, you get a blast of the sweetness from the peaches, but after a breath or two also pick up some grilled flavor which instantly adds a savory component. The huckleberry-mascarpone spread plays perfectly off of the softened peaches, followed by the crunch of the chocolate chip cookie crust.
Your mouth goes through the same happy range of emotions as a slugger who knocks one out of the park, touching all the bases before reaching home and winning the game.
The next time you are looking for a grand slam of a dessert, give the gluten-free grilled dessert pizza a shot. It is sure to be a home run!
~ Paul Sidoriak
If you like this Gluten Free Grilled Dessert Pizza check out more from Paul at GrillingMontana.com