4th of July is always bittersweet for me. I've always felt like it is the halfway point to marking summer's end. (You can definitely see I'm the glass half empty kind of person, eh?) Maybe it is because my kids always started school around the third week of August. Well, the kids aren't here anymore, my attitude is changing and I still love 4th of July! Besides all the fireworks, (I am a fireworks kind of girl) 4th of July means food. It means grill. It means water and cold beer. And in the past it always meant parades and streamers and bikes and hikes and pie and watermelon. That's a lot to cram in, in one day!
So we all know that Whole Foods has an incredible number of great foods to grill. Most folks think meat, or fish or kebabs or burgers or corn on the cob. Not many think fruit, but just like I'm changing my attitude, it is high time to change your view on grilling fruit! I love grilled pineapple and peaches. And even putting your berries in a basket and grilling them for about two minutes intensifies those berry flavors.
Well, being the nut case that I am, I decided to grill some fruit and make grilled fruit pies. Cornmeal makes for a rustic crust that totally rocks with grilled fruit. (It is totally optional to grill the fruit, though it does give a distinctive flavor to your pie, but they are scrumptious either way.) It bakes up crisp and flaky at the same time. Before adding the fruit I smeared a couple tablespoons of cheese on the crust. This melts right in and only adds to the richness of the crust. It will not be detected when you are eating.
Add a scoop of ice cream or a pile of whipped cream and you have a way above average dessert. Plus serving everyone their own individual pie is a sure way to keep the crowds smiling. These individual pies aren't overly sweet, but if you want them sweeter, feel free to shake that sugar. The choice of fruit is yours, but I liked the combo of apricots and blueberries or raspberries and blueberries, but if you want to know the truth, I'm really not picky as long as I get to have dessert!
The hardest part about this dessert is making the crust and that's not that hard. I made these the day before I served them and kept them very lightly covered on the counter. I did pop them back in the oven to rewarm and they turned out great. My pies were 8 inchers so one might say they were a bit man sized, but my girlfriend managed to devour hers all on her own. And that even had a scoop of ice cream on it! How many you make is up to you. In fact this whole recipe is up to you. I'm just supplying the basic directions, so keep that in mind. And keep Whole Foods in mind for all your grill needs!
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Grilled Fruit Pies in a Cornmeal Crust
Time to Make: About 45 minutes active
Your choice of fruit-I used 1 1/2 apricots per pie and dotted them with about 12 blueberries or use enough blueberries and raspberries to cover about a 6" diameter of pie
2 T melted butter
(Grilling is optional)
2 c flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
6 T sugar plus 1 T per pie for sprinkling
1 t salt
2 sticks chilled butter
1 t vanilla
1 container mascarpone cheese at room temperature
2 T honey
2 T balsamic vinegar
3 pinches ground black pepper
Fresh thyme or rosemary to sprinkle
Combine flour, cornmeal,6 T of sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until large crumbs form. Stir in eggs and vanilla and mix until you can gather dough into 2 large balls. Chill for a few hours. While dough is chilling grill your fruit.
To grill fruit: Preheat grill to medium. Cut stone fruits in half. Brush each side with a bit of melted butter. Grill for just a few moments until grill marks appear. Cool before slicing. To grill berries, toss with a bit of melted butter.Place on a grill screen and grill for just a few minutes. You are not cooking these, only giving them flavor and this step is totally optional.
Make cheese mixture by combining cheese, honey, vinegar and pepper in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
To roll dough: I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll about 1/2" thick. You may slice each ball into 3 or 4 slices depending on how many pies you want. These are free form pies. After pie crust is rolled, remove top piece of parchment and spread a few tablespoons of cheese mixture on center of pie. Top with your choice of fruit and sprinkle with about 1 T of sugar. Now using a sharp paring knife, scrape outer edges of dough towards the middle on to the fruit. Pinch crust together if it comes apart. It is very forgiving.
Now using a large spatula, lift your pies, still on the parchment, on to a rimmed baking sheet. Chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. After pies have chilled, bake them for 30 minutes until crust is golden and fruit is bubbly. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary or thyme while warm. It really makes the pie's flavors pop! Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Other great 4th of July foods:
Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
Red Onion, Blueberry and Pesto Goat Cheese Tart
Pineapple and Chipotle Guacamole
Old Fashioned BBQ Chicken
Elote Corn in a Bowl
My Mom's Secret ColeSlaw
Cream Cheese Poundcake
Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake