Tropical Fruit Crisp with Palm Sugar

This was an experiment of mine when I needed to come up with a vegan and gluten-free dessert – and it turned out quite well!

You might have to go to an Asian store to find the palm sugar. Look for the lighter colored palm sugar that can often be found in packages of small pressed/formed cakes. They are firm, and hold their shape, but are soft enough to grate or chop easily. Look at the ingredient label. It should say palm sugar and not coconut sugar; those titles are occasionally used interchangeably on the main label, but the ingredient list will tell you the real deal. It is made from the sap of the date palm and has a faintly caramel-like flavor, more interesting than white sugar and less assertive than brown sugars. It enhances the tropical fruits in this crisp perfectly.

I happened to have very little coconut around the house so I had to use two kinds to equal the amount I wanted. Feel free to use unsweetened desiccated or sweetened long-shred coconut to make up the full amount. My preference would be unsweetened as the crisp is sweet enough already. Don’t leave out the salt as it is needed to balance the sweetness. The gluten-free flour is made by King Arthur and it is my favorite blend; others might not work as well. You could also use all-purpose flour, if you like.

Serves 8


1 cup grated palm sugar (not packed)

3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix, such as King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup sweetened long-shred coconut

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons melted coconut oil



8, 4 ounce ripe persimmons, to total 2 cups of flesh

2 large ripe mangoes, to total 2 cups of flesh

2 large ripe bananas


Preheat oven to 375˚ F.  Coat a 9 -inch pie plate with nonstick spray.

For the Topping: In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine palm sugar, flour, oats, coconut(s) and salt. Pour coconut oil over top of dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to combine thoroughly. This mixture may be made up to 4 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container; bring to room temperature before using.

For the Filling: Slice the persimmons in half and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh directly into a 2-cup measuring cup. The pieces can be varied sizes. When you have 2-cups worth, scrape it into pie plate. Slice the mango in half and repeat as for persimmon. Make sure to get the extra flesh off of the pit. Then slice the bananas into 1/2-inch thick rounds right on top of the other fruit.

Place topping evenly over fruit, patting gently to help all of it adhere. Place pie plate on parchment lined half-sheet pan to catch boil overs.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling around edges. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. It may be served at room temperature, or re-warmed after cooling.  Best eaten the day it is made.