Winning Grill Recipe Toasts Bananas, Nutella

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If you're looking for something new — and maybe even a little sweet — to throw on the grill tonight, you're in luck.

We asked you to send us your recipes for desserts you can prepare on the grill. Pastry chef Susan Lindeborg picked her favorite three and delivered them to NPR food essayist Bonny Wolf. Kate Jansen, an award-winning chef and restaurant owner, and NPR's Daniel Zwerdling gathered around the grill at Wolf's home to taste all three finalists and decide on a winning recipe.

The winner was a banana and Nutella napoleon, submitted by Cheryl Bryant of Winter Park, Fla. Starting later this week, Jansen will feature the winning dish for a limited time at Willow, her restaurant in Arlington, Va.

Banana And Nutella Napoleon

Judges' Note: We were drawn to this recipe because challah toast absorbs the flavor of the grill very well. Warming the Nutella layer while toasting the second side is a nice touch, too. It's a pretty presentation and can be made easily in a short amount of time — plus it can be a template for many other kinds of fillings.

Cheryl Bryant's banana and Nutella napoleon. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR i

Cheryl Bryant's banana and Nutella napoleon. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Patrick De Oliveira/NPR
Cheryl Bryant's banana and Nutella napoleon. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR

Cheryl Bryant's banana and Nutella napoleon.

Patrick De Oliveira/NPR


  • 2 bananas
  • 6 slices of challah bread
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread

Serves 2.

1. Take two not-too-mushy bananas and slice in half crosswise, then cut halves lengthwise. Sprinkle with sugar and a modicum of cinnamon.

2. Grill bananas for a few minutes until marked with a nice brown color and warm throughout. Remove to a cutting board and slice into chunks.

3. Take challah and cut each slice into a circle with a large biscuit cutter or a large-mouthed glass jar.

4. Spread a thin coat of butter on each side of the bread and toast on grill until nicely browned on first side.

5. Remove from grill and spread a generous amount of Nutella on the toasted side of four of the pieces of bread. Place all six slices of bread back on grill and toast the untoasted sides.

6. When browned, remove from grill and place banana chunks on top of Nutella. Spoon whipped cream on top of the banana, then assemble layers into two three-tier "cakes" with the naked toast placed on top. Serves two — or one really big pig.

Sweet Apple And Bacon Puffs With Pomegranate Glaze

Judges' Note: We like how the puff pastry in this recipe is placed on the grill to be warmed and gather a bit of grill flavor. A firm apple would be the best choice for this dessert.

Sweet apple and bacon puffs with pomegranate glaze. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR i

Sweet apple and bacon puffs with pomegranate glaze from Chrystal Baker and Amir Thomas. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Patrick De Oliveira/NPR
Sweet apple and bacon puffs with pomegranate glaze. Patrick De Oliveira/NPR

Sweet apple and bacon puffs with pomegranate glaze from Chrystal Baker and Amir Thomas.

Patrick De Oliveira/NPR


  • 2 medium apples, cut into eighths
  • 8 slices bacon, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces gorgonzola
  • 8 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 package puff pastry, thawed
  • Toothpicks, soaked in water

Serves 6 to 8.

1. Roll out puff pastry. On a lightly floured surface, slice into 16 rectangles. Place on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake according to package directions in a preheated oven. Remove from oven and pop a hole into the top of each one with your finger. Set aside.

2. As puff pastry bakes, place the butter in a saucepan over medium flame. Once hot, add apples and all of the spices, brown sugar and salt. Stir well and cook until apples just begin to soften, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Remove apples, leaving the spice and sugar mix in the saucepan, and place into a separate container to cool slightly.

3. Pour pomegranate juice directly into the spiced sugar that was just used to flavor the apples. Stir well, turn heat to medium high and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

4. While glaze reduces, spread bacon strips on a flat surface. Top each one with an apple slice and a bit of gorgonzola. Wrap bacon tightly around apple and cheese, pinning it closed with a toothpick.

5. On a preheated grill, place bacon-wrapped apples directly on the grill and cover with the lid. Grill, turning when necessary, until bacon is done, 8 to 10 minutes.

6. As apple-bacon parcels finish cooking, lay puff pastry pieces onto the grill, cover again and allow to heat until warm. Top each puff pastry with the apple bacon, remove toothpicks and serve drizzled with pomegranate glaze.

Grilled Ice Cream With East Indian Spices

Judges' Note: This procedure proved problematic – in fact, none of the ice cream scoops tested survived the grill. However, this recipe has the potential to be a stunning dessert, complete with crunch — that all-important element for an American dessert.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 tablespoons salt, kosher recommended
  • 2 pounds dry ice

Serves 4 to 6.

1. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, cream, milk and cornstarch to create an ice cream base. In a spice grinder, mix the whole spices and grind for a half a minute or so. (A coffee grinder will work just fine.) Transfer the spice mixture to a heavy pan (cast iron works well), add the ginger, and cook over low heat for a minute or two until the mixture becomes fragrant.

2. Stir the spice mixture into the ice cream base. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

3. Combine the salt and the remaining cup of sugar in a bowl. Once the ice cream is ready, you will have to work quickly. Scoop one scoop of ice cream and, using tongs, place it in a container filled with the dry ice for approximately 20 seconds. Then transfer it to the sugar mixture and coat well. Repeat the process until you have six to eight scoops ready.

4. The grill should be at medium-high heat. Because of the dry-ice treatment, the ice cream is at a temperature well below freezing. The idea is for the intense heat of the grill to rapidly caramelize the sugar and milk solids into an exterior crust, before the heat penetrates to the cold interior. It may take one or two scoops before you get the timing right. Work with one scoop at a time, using tongs to ensure an even browning of the exterior.

5. Transfer the scoops to serving dishes, garnish with a few shavings of lemon zest, or whatever else suits your fancy. Enjoy!



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