A classic Southern salad and a classic Southern dessert, Ambrosia is a mixture of fruits, coconut, marshmallows, and a whipped cream sauce to bind it together. My mother-in-law serves Ambrosia as dessert every Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s become a family tradition.
Ambrosia is a truly healthy dessert or fruit salad, whichever way you choose to serve it. Made with fresh fruits, fresh coconuts, homemade marshmallows and fresh cream, there’s not a preservative in sight, and there’s no added sodium as well.
There are many different Ambrosia recipes out in the world, and they’ve all got their good points; this recipe is as close an approximation of my mother-in-law’s as I can get without asking, so feel free to tinker with it if you don’t like one of the ingredients.
1 fresh orange per serving, six for six people, Naval or Valencia preferred.
1 fresh Clementine per serving, six for six people
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
½ fresh coconut meat, grated
2 cups homemade miniature marshmallows
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of sugar or the equivalent amount of Stevia
Peel the oranges and Clementines. Using a paring knife or a grapefruit knife, section each orange and Clementine and put into a large mixing bowl. Cut the pineapple into chunks and add to the orange-Clementine mixture. Grate the meat of the fresh coconut and add to the bowl. Stir to blend, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Place a metal bowl into the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. Remove and add the 1 cup of heavy cream, also chilled. Beat with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. While the mixer is running, slowly add the sugar or Stevia and continue to mix until stiff peaks form. Remove the whisk and cover the bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Remove the bowl with the fruits from the refrigerator. Add the marshmallows and mix gently to combine. Add the whipped cream and mix gently. Serve immediately.
Remove the fruit mixture from the refrigerator and spoon into individual serving dishes. If desired, stir in the marshmallows before portioning out. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each individual dish and serve immediately.
Most of the Ambrosia recipes out there call for canned mandarin orange, maraschino cherries, and some call for sour cream instead of whipped cream, and some call for a mixture of the two. Ambrosia is an easy dish to modify for personal preference, so if you don’t like any of the ingredients, you can probably leave it out or substitute it with no problem. The key to making it healthy is to use fresh fruit, fresh coconut, and fresh cream. The time spent to make it from scratch is well worth it, to avoid the sodium, preservatives, and sweeteners used in canned oranges and pineapple. Ambrosia made from scratch is a truly healthy fruit salad or dessert, so enjoy the fruits (pun intended!) of your labor and have a healthy end to your meal.