What is Ambrosia?
To me, Ambrosia is a bowl of retro comfort food. Just saying the name makes me smile. Ambrosia. I dare say, there are few Southern mom’s and grandma’s that haven’t whipped up a bowl of Ambrosia to share with family and friends at one time or another. Ambrosia is a Southern fruit salad that’s made with whipped cream pineapple, maraschino cherries and an assortment of fruit. It can be served as a salad or as a dessert. It’s a dish that sometimes signals debate in how it should be served. Is it a side dish or is it a dessert? I’ve seen it served both ways. I consider it a fruit salad dessert, but, I have seen it served as a side dish, as well. It’s all up to the discretion of the hostess, of course.
Typically, ambrosia recipes include mandarin oranges or fresh clementine segments, flaked coconut and pineapple. The sky is the limit with variations.
- I don’t stray far from the classics for my Ambrosia but, from time to time I have chosen to use a can of cream of coconut in place of flaked coconut. It adds to the flavor without being a turn off to the non-coconut fans.
- Should you choose to do so, I find that an 8 ounce container of frozen whipped topping holds up to the addition better than fresh whipped cream. Whip it into the whipped topping along with the sour cream. You would also omit the powdered sugar.
- You can vary the type of fruit in Ambrosia, adding other fruits such as fresh grapes, strawberries or bananas, too.
There is plenty of room to personalize this simple salad to your taste. It’s lush and loaded with nostalgia.
Other easy fruity dishes you may like to try:
- Hawaiian Pineapple Coconut Fluff
- Cherry Pie Fluff
- Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Apple Fluff
- Or, this recipe for Blueberry Fluff from Bread, Booze and Bacon
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans toasted
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 15 oz cans mandarin orange segments well drained
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks or 1  oz can pineapple tidbits, drained well drained
- 1 16 oz jar maraschino cherries well drained
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast at 350°F for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a medium size mixing bowl using an electric mixer, whip together cream and vanilla. Gradually add powered sugar. Beat 3 minutes on medium-high speed until thickened and stiff peaks have formed.
- Add sour cream, beating with the mixer just until combined.
- Use a large spoon to fold in nuts, mandarin oranges, pineapple, cherries, marshmallows and coconut until fully combined.
- Chill in an airtight container for 4 hours or overnight prior to serving.