5 Tropical Desserts You Will Enjoy in San Diego

by Joshua Hampton

Tropical DessertsIt’s not uncommon to find a tropical dessert or two served after a meal in San Diego. There are a number of reasons behind this. Among these is the fact that California’s climate is so suitable to growing tropical fruits. This gives San Diego easy access to fresh ingredients for tropical dessert recipes. Another reason is San Diego has a large number of residents originating from tropical regions such as Hawaii and Southeast Asia. These transplanted San Diegans typically incorporate the flavors and ingredients they grew up with into the food they eat every day, including dessert.

When you’re in San Diego, it won’t be difficult for you to develop your own tropical dessert ideas. California, after all, is the land of fusion cooking and it’s anything goes in any San Diegan kitchen. The next time you crave for a tropical dessert, I suggest that you try making one of these lovely Californian tropical dessert recipes.

 

1. Homemade Tropical Ice Cream

Ice cream is a dessert you can enjoy all year-round in San Diego. With San Diego’s Mediterranean climate, it’s never too cold to enjoy an ice cream cone any time of the day. Store-bought ice cream isn’t such a good idea if you’re on a diet or cutting back on sugar for health reasons, though. The typical ice cream products available in the supermarket are laden with sugar or are not vegan/gluten-free. Thankfully, with the help of an ice cream maker or your trusty blender, you can make your own ice cream at home. This will ensure that the ice cream you eat is just the way you like it, without any hidden ingredients or substances you can’t eat.

Tropical ice cream is one of the best ice cream flavors around if you ask me. For me, this tropical fruit dessert is very refreshing and light on the tongue. Here is a homemade ice cream you can try making at home using a blender.

What you need:
1 cup chopped tropical fruits of your choice – bananas, pineapples, melons
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp nut butter (peanut or cashew)
1/4 cup yoghurt (preferably Greek yoghurt)

Directions:
Dump all the ingredients in your blender and process until smooth and thick. Put the finished product in a container and freeze overnight.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

2. Sweet Avocado Mousse

Technically, avocado is not a tropical fruit. It is, after all, native to Central Mexico. Nonetheless, the avocado has become so popular in Southeast Asia and many other tropical regions that it has earned a place among the ranks of tropical fruits. San Diegans are also quite fond of the avocado and include them a lot in their dishes. So, if you like avocados, here’s an avocado dessert you’ll surely love, from Epicurious.

What you need:
2 California avocados, chilled
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar (or your favorite sugar substitute)
A pinch of salt

Directions:
Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Spoon out the flesh and put in a food processor or blender. Add the other ingredients except the cream and blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it peaks stiffly. Get the pureed avocado from the blender and fold it into the cream. Chill before serving.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

3. California Gingered Fruit Salsa Sundae

California is the home of fusion cuisine, so you’ll find no lack of fusion restaurants in San Diego. Many San Diegans experiment with fusion cooking in their homes as well. Thus, don’t be surprised if you find a fusion tropical fruit dessert before you when you dine in San Diego, in a restaurant or at a home. Here’s an excellent east-meets-west fruit dessert you’ll commonly find in San Diego and anywhere else in California, again from Epicurious.

What you need:
1/2 cup raspberries
6 large strawberries, diced
1/2 cup pineapples, fresh or canned, finely diced
1/2 cup ripe mango, diced
1 pint frozen vanilla yoghurt
2 tbsp sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
3 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Mash the raspberries with the sugar and set it aside for five minutes. Afterwards, mix in the other ingredients except the yoghurt. Scoop the yoghurt into sundae dishes or dessert bowls and top it with the fruit salsa.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4. Tropical Carrot Cake

Tropical Carrot CakeMany of us like carrot cake. It’s delicious, that’s for sure. For me, I don’t feel too guilty eating carrot cake for dessert because it has carrots in it. Carrots are vegetables, aren’t they? And vegetables are healthy and good for you. But carrot cake isn’t a tropical dessert, isn’t it? So how do you make it tropical? That’s simple – just add a few tropical fruits into the mix, just like in this tropical carrot cake recipe from About.com Baking.

What you need:
2 cups carrots, grated
1 20-ounce can pineapple, drained and crushed
1 cup walnuts, pecans or your preferred nuts, toasted and chopped
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten slightly
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

Ingredients for the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts, pecans or your choice of nuts, toasted and chopped

Directions for the cake:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray grease and sprinkle flour on two bread loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Afterwards, add the carrots, the eggs and the oil. Beat the mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the bread loaf pans and then bake for an hour or until completely done. Once done, place in cooling rack and set aside until ready to frost.

Directions for the frosting:
Mix the butter and the cream cheese until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add in the sugar and the vanilla, and then the nuts and the coconut flakes. Once the frosting is completely mixed, check if the cakes have cooled. If the cakes have already cooled, spread the frosting evenly on each cake. Store the cakes in the fridge.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: at least 8 servings

5. Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding

Pineapples, coconuts and mangoes are not the only fruits the tropics are blessed with. They also have the yummy and versatile banana, a staple food in many countries. Bananas are the perfect ingredient to any creamy tropical dessert, including this pudding recipe from Food.com.

What you need:
2 ripe bananas, chopped
2 ripe avocados, pitted and scooped
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Put the bananas and the avocado flesh in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue mixing. Pour the mixture into a sealed container and chill in the fridge before serving.

These are just some of the tropical desserts you will enjoy when you are in San Diego. But you don’t have to be in San Diego to enjoy a tropical dessert. With easy dessert recipes like these, you can have your tropical-themed sweets any time you want, wherever you may be.

Joshua Hampton

My name is Joshua Hampton and I love cooking. I believe that what you eat represents who you really are. Knowing how to cook properly will ensure that you have more enjoyment in your life, you have higher self-esteem and you have a better health. So, right now I am most obsessed about different cooking classes - it is so much fun, even my 5 years old kid loves it. Join now! - Joshua

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