18 Tropical Fruit Desserts For a Beach Vacation in Your Mouth

Bring some fun and fruity flavor to the sweetest part of your meal

For some of us, the mention of "dessert" whisks us away to a chocolate-covered fantasy world complete with caramel oceans and hikeable mountains of ice cream. But summer is as good a time as any to remember that there's more to our favorite meal than those decadent, creamy confections. In much of the world, particularly across warm-weather climes, dessert is a fruit-based affair. Some of our favorite Caribbean, South American, and Southeast Asian recipes are sweet but refreshing treats bursting with the flavors of coconut, pineapple, and more.

Naturally, fruity desserts tout brighter colors that make them worthy of an Instagram post (bonus points if you snap them in front of a beautiful tropical view). And don't forget to wash them down with one of our favorite tiki and tropical cocktails. From rum-laced banana fritters to a Filipino fruit salad, finish up a great meal with a few of our favorite desserts that literally grow on trees.

Pineapple Tea Cookies

Pineapple Tea Cookies
These sandwich cookies, adapted from chef Frederico Ribeiro of New York's Te Company, are an homage to the classic Taiwanese pineapple cake. Here a super-buttery vanilla bean shortbread gets a nutty dose of hazelnut flour, and sweet pineapple-rosemary jam gets balanced by the spicy, fermented, and grassy flavor of Japanese yuzu kosho paste. Get the recipe for Pineapple Tea Cookies »Matt Taylor-Gross

Coconut and Brown Sugar Rice Cakes (Yi Bua)

Rice Cakes Stuffed with Coconut and Brown Sugar (Yi Bua)
Like a tropical version of mochi, these chewy rice cakes, often eaten on sweltering Hainan days with a tall glass of coffee, hold a brown sugar and coconut filling. Get the recipe for Coconut and Brown Sugar Rice Cakes (Yi Bua) »Jason Lang

Four-Hour Pineapple

Four-hour Pineapple
Slow-cooking pineapple whole on the grill concentrates and enriches its flavors while keeping the fruit tasting bright. "The pineapple must be very ripe," Mallmann says. "If not, it's useless. The slower you do it, the better." Get the recipe for Four-Hour Pineapple »Matt Taylor-Gross

Colameco's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Colameco's Pineapple Upside Down Cake
This cake is brought to the next level with a caramel topping. Get the recipe for Colameco's Pineapple Upside Down Cake »James Oseland

Coconut "Macaroonies"

Coconut Blondie Cookies
With their powerful coconut flavor, chewy texture, and crisp edges, these gluten- and dairy-free all-coconut bar cookies (made with coconut extract, oil, and flour) are the ultimate macaron. Get the recipe for Coconut "Macaroonies" »Matt Taylor-Gross

Banana Fritters with Cinnamon-Sugar and Rum

Banana Fritters with Cinnamon-Sugar and Rum
Use very ripe organic bananas for these silver-dollar-size fritters, as they will mash the best and create a smooth, sweet batter. Get the recipe for Banana Fritters with Cinnamon-Sugar and Rum »Matt Taylor-Gross

Paw Paw Ice Cream

Paw Paw Ice Cream
This custardy ice cream gets its tropical flavor from paw paws, a musky-sweet fruit native to the American Midwest that tastes somewhere between a banana and a mango, with a plush, creamy texture. Get the recipe for Paw Paw Ice Cream »Farideh Sadeghin

Yogurt Bundt Cake with Passion Fruit Sauce

Yogurt Bundt Cake with Passion Fruit Sauce
This passion-fruit-drizzled cake gets its tangy moist crumb from yogurt. Get the recipe for Yogurt Bundt Cake with Passion Fruit Sauce »Ingalls Photography

Thai Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream

Thai Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream
Black sticky rice, which like wild rice is unhulled, makes a rustic rice pudding loaded with far more flavor and texture than usual. This version from chef Peerasri Montreeprasat at Sugar Club, a Thai grocery and cafe in New York, adds in cubes of nutty taro and is sweetened with palm sugar. Get the recipe for Thai Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream »Matt Taylor-Gross

Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake
Thick Italian meringue is sandwiched between moist layers of cake, which is topped off with sweetened shredded coconut in this recipe from chef Thomas Keller. Get the recipe for Thomas Keller's Coconut Cake »Helen Rosner

Chocolate Coconut Balls

Chocolate Coconut Balls
This great recipe from Philadelphia's Moonstruck restaurant showcases the bite-size coconut cream balls rolled in cinnamon, sugar, and cocoa. Get the recipe for Chocolate Coconut Balls »Matt Taylor-Gross

Coconut Pistachio Semifreddo

Coconut Pistachio Semifreddo
Anna Watson Carl relies on sweetened condensed milk to add richness to this frozen dessert flavored with coconut milk, lime zest, and toasty pistachios. Simply macerated peaches provide a fresh, fruity counterpart. Get the recipe for Coconut Pistachio Semifreddo »Matt Taylor-Gross

Pineapple and Pine Nut Torte

Pineapple and Pine Nut Torte
At Portland, Oregon's Måurice restaurant, pastry chef Kristen Murray layers sponge cake with buttercream and white chocolate ganache, and garnishes the torte with honeyed pineapple slices and candied pine nuts. Get the recipe for Pineapple and Pine Nut Torte »Joseph De Leo

Mango Bread

Mango Bread
A simple and satisfying loaf cake, mango bread combines fresh and pureed mango with walnuts and shredded coconut for a treat that can be enjoyed any time of day. Get the recipe for Mango Bread »Todd Coleman

Chile-Lime Macaroons

Chile-Lime Macaroons
These lightly spicy coconut cookies are somewhere between a classic American macaroon and a Mexican street snack. Get the recipe for Chile-Lime Macaroons »Helen Rosner

Coconut Lime Custard Pie

Coconut Lime Custard Pie
This cream-topped pie is filled with a thick coconut milk custard that perfectly complements the zip of fresh lime juice and grated zest. Get the recipe for Coconut Lime Custard Pie »Andrew Ingalls

Phillippine Fruit Salad

Phillippine Fruit Salad
"When I introduce this dish to my friends for the first time, they are confused and a little hesitant to eat it. Once they try it, though, they fall in love." – Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao. Get the recipe for Phillippine Fruit Salad »Matt Taylor-Gross

Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts

Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts
Coconut milk gives these donuts from Seattle's Top Pot donut shop a super-moist interior and a gratifying crust. Get the recipe for Top Pot Triple Coconut Donuts »Todd Coleman

Spiced Mango Sorbet with Pistachio Tuiles

Spiced Mango Sorbet with Pistachio Tuiles
Look for ripe mangoes that yield easily to the touch, because they will have the most vibrant flavor to play off the warming spices in this refreshing sorbet from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy.Helen Cathcart