Ambrosia, an amazingly creamy fruit salad, made with sweet soft fruits, marshmallows, coconut, crunchy almonds, and sweet and sour cream dressing.
One of my favorite, Ambrosia Salad is a fruit salad that can be served as side or as dessert. Ready in just 10 minutes, this creamy salad makes beautiful presentation on a holiday platter and is special favorite among kids.
For me, best about of ambrosia salad is creamy sour cream and sweet cream dressing. The slight sweetness of cream, tang of sour cream goes amazingly well with chunks of sweet pineapple, cherries and melt-in-mouth mini marshmallows. Bonus is the flavor of coconut with crunch of almonds and bite of mangoes here and there.
Traditional Ambrosia fruit salad uses very easy to find ingredients. Sweet fruits such as diced pineapple, orange segments, pitted maraschino cherries. mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, and slightly sweet whipped sweet cream and sour cream for creaminess. I like to use a wide variety of fresh and canned fruits in this salad... Only thing I make sure is to use fruits that are ripe, sweet, skinless or skinned, and seedless so that nothing comes between creamy melt-in-mouth bite of ambrosia and me! ;-)
My love for ambrosia goes as far as my childhood. Ambrosia salad is one of the most loved side dish served in many Indian marriage/party buffets. In India, it is mostly referred as Fruit Cream Salad. I have vivid memories of filling my plate with just fruit salad and eating like I'm eating a moist birthday cake with lots of cream icing. yumm! When we moved to States, I enjoyed my fare share of this salad in few buffets.. However, not that impressed with quality, I started making my childhood favorite at home. And I love it every-time my make some!
In India, banana and seedless grapes are very common ingredients of ambrosia salad. So I often add these (when in season) in addition to pineapple and cherries. For today's ambrosia recipe, I decided to add some fresh diced mangoes. Actually, coconut pairs very well with mango, so this fresh fruit made perfect sense. Since mango is not in season these days, I have added frozen thawed. You can also use fruit-juice packed diced mangoes.
In short, use any soft fruit you like! Let me share with you fruits that will go good in Ambrosia Salad:
1. Diced pineapple, fresh very ripe or canned drained.
3. Seedless Grapes
4. Orange segments, preferably packed in juice, drained.
5. Sweet Marciano Cherries, pitted
6. Mango, peeled and diced
7. Coconut, shredded. Preferably sweetened.
8. Apples, peeled, cored and diced
9. Berries - Raspberries or Blueberries
10. Dates, pitted
Ambrosia is very versatile and easy fruit salad which you can make your own with your favorite choices of fruits!
Oh, and if you don't want to bother collecting 4-5 kinds of fruits... Simply use cocktail medley of fruits packed in light syrup. These can be found wherever you find fruit-juice packed diced pineapples.
For creamy coating, I like to make cream dressing of ambrosia salad with sour cream. First, I whip fresh heavy cream with a tablespoon of sugar. Then, for real amazing slightly tang creaminess of ambrosia salad, I also whip-in 1/3 cup of sour cream. Combination of these two make a rich and full body, sweet and tangy cream dressing that is simply hard to resist. You can also use light version of both - cream and sour cream. When I don't have fresh heavy cream or don't want to whip cream.. I even use as 7 ounce can of reddy-whip and mix in sour cream. Since pre-whipped cream is already sweet, there is no need to add sugar.
Once cream is ready, I fold in drained and diced fruits. It is very important to drain the canned fruits so that they don't make salad runny when folded into the cream. I even like to pat-dry the cherries or the color of cherries leaves a pink color in cream. Draining the liquid, then patting dry in paper towel works out best.
Make- Ahead: You can make ambrosia salad a day ahead. In-fact, it is good to refrigerate salad for few hours for cream to settle and fruits to chill.
I hope this fruit salad will make your family-gathering sweeter. Wish you all a wonderful day ahead. -Savita
Few more Holiday Salads from my recipe repertoire:
- Ambrosia Salad
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/3 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Coconut (sweetened, shreded )
- 2 Cup Pineapple (one 20 ounce can of pineapple, drained)
- 3 Cup Mandarin orange (12 ounce, drained)
- 1 Cup Maraschino Cherry (8 ounce can, drained, pat dry, halved)
- 2 Cup Marshmallow (7 ounce bag of mini marshmallow)
- 1/4 Cup Almonds (silvered, optional)
- 1 Cup Mango (frozen, thawed, or fresh peeled and diced, both optional)
- 1. In a wide bowl, add cold heavy cream and sugar. Whip until soft peaks form, then whisk in sour cream.
- 2. Add in drained orange segments, pineapple, cherries, marshmallow, mango (if using), almonds (if using), and shredded coconut.
- 3. Fold cream gently with fruits. If serving as side salad, transfer to a glass serving bowl. or if serving as dessert, fill into single-serve dessert cups. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
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