Monday, January 16, 2012

Southern Ambrosia

There is a really good way to beat the winter blahs. And it's called.....Ambrosia. 
It's a popular southern dish that makes it's way to nearly every get-together (especially in the summertime because it is cool, refreshing and not a very heavy dessert).  Basically it's a fruit salad with sweetened coconut.  Now I realize folks are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to coconut, either you love it or you don't. But the sweetened coconut is what makes this.   It just isn't Ambrosia without coconut.  Have any of y'all seen "The Help" yet? That movie was fantastic. I give you fair warning though, it'll have you crying in some parts and laughing hysterically in others. It caused a bit of controversy when it came out but I think the messages that were in it spoke to a lot of folks, including myself. 


You is kind.
You is smart.
You is important.

And you know what? Aibileen had it right. And we should repeat those words to ourselves everyday and to our kids.  Anyhoo, this dessert was featured in that movie. Sissy Spacek's character asks for some Ambrosia and then promptly falls asleep while eating eat. I just love Sissy Spacek. She lives near me here in Virginia. Well, not real close, I don't hang out at her farm or anything, but she's a transplanted Virginia gal. And Robert Duvall lives in the country not too far from her.  Yep, we got us some movie stars in these here hills. 

As I was saying, this is a great wintertime treat too because it tastes like summer. And the bonus is that these are all ingredients you can get your hands on in the winter because most of them are canned.  And you can throw in whatever fruits you prefer or have on hand.
Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) tub of whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sour cream
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained well
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained well
1 cup red or green seedless grapes, sliced in half
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 (10 oz.) jar of maraschino cherry halves, drained very well (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

(marshmallows not pictured)

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream.
Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows.  Then gently fold in pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes and maraschino cherries and nuts (if using). 
Once combined, put some plastic wrap on it or put it in a bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
Cook's Notes: You can easily switch out most of these ingredients for sugar-free options.
This goes really good with angel food cake. 

Enjoy!


43 comments :

Rosemary said...

I haven't seen the movie yet -- but I sure was engrossed in the book. (Got a recipe for caramel cake, too?) Love ambrosia. "You is kind."

Maureen said...

I loved the movie! I saw it with my Aussie husband and he missed the meaning of a few things but I was enthralled.

I love ambrosia. We don't have whipped topping in Australia so I just use whipped cream but everyone here loves it. Especially me!

Leslie said...

I love ambrosia! Sometimes Mom will make it without the "creamy ingredients" and it's still so delicious--especially with fresh coconut cake at Christmas. Yum! Your pictures here look delicious.

It sounds like you live in a lovely state. I live in Western Ky. and somehow haven't made it over to Virginia yet! Kinda crazy, I know!
Also, I loved that movie! :)
Blessings,
Leslie

Aarthi said...

Wow..Yummy one...Thanks for posting

Aarthi
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

jillian nicole said...

Oh, yum! I love ambrosia! Can't wait to try this on the hubs!:)

Becky said...

Your ambrosia is heavenly. I used to make a similar dish called 5 Cup Salad, because it just had 5 ingredients, 1 c sour cream, 1c coconut, 1 c pineapple chunks, 1c mandarin oranges, 1 c miniature marshmallows. I love your expanded recipe, and will have to try it soon.
I haven't made this recipe in years, so thanks for jogging my memory.

Lizzy said...

I used to eat bowls of this when the dorm cafeteria served it in college...of course, the metabolism was much better back then! YUM!

Adele said...

I love ambrosia and just about any fruit salad in the winter - it helps get you through those dark, dreary days. LOVED The Help, and took my kids to see it too. Great message - it's a movie I'll always remember.

terry said...

Mmmm, could go for some of this right now!
I saw the movie and enjoyed it very much~ especially because I went to school with Viola Davis......she was a year ahead of me but we had home ec and gym together! I can say I knew her when!! ;)

scratch-made wife said...

My Italian grandma always made ambrosia, so it always makes me think of her. I don't know why I've never made it. I used to hate, hate, hate coconut, but I've hopped over the fence now. :) Oh, and to add to the list of things that I love: The Help. I could watch it over and over. Thanks for the recipe, Bran! I hope to make this sometime soon.

Julie said...

I love this stuff...really takes me back :) I loved that movie (and book) too :)

The Better Baker said...

Oh I wanna come over and have a bite! I LOVE this kind of dish...hubby doesn't care for pineapple unless it's baked, so I don't make this kind of thing unless I'm taking it somewhere. I could eat it all myself for sure...and will be making a smaller batch soon. LOVED "The Help"...I even went to see it alone and cried and laughed myself silly.

Kim B. said...

Oh, I LOVED The Help!! Wow, it really made me think :) LOVE your ambrosia recipe too, looks YUMMY!!

Krista said...

Yummy! I love ambrosia, but have never added grapes to mine! Will next time though :) Thanks for sharing at Church Supper, Brandie! Have a blessed week. ~EMM

Shannon said...

looks like *heaven* thanks for sharing

hotmama2u said...

I think I just found my side dish for Easter. Thanks can't beat a classic like Ambrosia!

Anonymous said...

Im watching The Help now (love it) & Aibileen's ambrosia looks delicious! Though I've never had the pleasure of eating it, I'm planning to make some for Memorial Day. My family isn't big on coconut but I plan to use its milk & substitute it w/other fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, or mango. Hope it turns out alright!

Brooks at Cakewalker: The Sweet and Savory Collection said...

Brandie, I just popped over from Twitter for a closer look at this Ambrosia. Admittedly, I'm not as familiar with this dish as I am a Waldorf salad—something my Mom used to make (she's from Bedford, by the way). While there are similarities between the two, I'm intrigued by the flavors represented in the Ambrosia. Love the lower sugar options too, because with all the cake sampling in my house, I've got to conserve calories somewhere! ;-)

joy mcelroy said...

Thanks for a great recipe! Growing up, we always had Ambrosia at Thanksgiving. As an adult, I used to fix it for our Thanksgivings, but no one ever ate it but me. So the past few years, I quit making it. Your post has inspired me- it's back on the Thanksgiving menu, even if I'm the only one who ever eats it. :)

Unknown said...

I have been looking for this recipe for years! I had it and made it a couple of times and then lost it. I love this stuff. Thanks for sharing!

Sandra said...

We always just called this fruit salad when I was growing up. The marshmallow fruit was always my favorite part. :-)

Anonymous said...

I like to add a little brown sugar to mine.

Janet said...

love this loved the movie bf didnt cant please everyone .Im going to do this for his family for thanksgiving thank you for breaking this down

jesusa c. Grimalt said...

Looks very refreshing! I will try this Holiday season.Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I read the book the help first, then went to see the movie. I loved them both! The movie followed the book fairly closely, but I love to read the book before seeing the movie. My family is coming home for Thanksgiving, and I am going to make this. I am allergic to wheat, and I am always looking for gluten free recipes. Thank you

Rhonda LeGrande said...

My Dad made a simple version of this. He only used fresh coconut, ground it himself, sugar, caned manderine oranges and fresh cut navel oranges. layered in the "Ambrosia Dish" (only thing that dish was used for once a year at Christmas) with sugar and the coconut milk from the fresh coconut. This one looks great though. Fresh coconut is too much trouble.

C Scott said...

Do you think it would taste the same or as good if I used homemade whipped cream (it's all I ever eat) & substituted greek yogurt for the sour cream?
Actually, I'm going to try that out this weekend!
:)

Anonymous said...

Love the movie, and this desert looks yummy, I am from Saint Albert, Canada, and I am always checking out your page

Anonymous said...

Ambrosia is a simple and delicious dessert with many variations. We usually substitute small curd cottage cheese for the sour cream, as it adds texture, but I've also had it with cream cheese or plain Greek yogurt. We add any fresh fruits we have on hand and supplement with canned fruits as needed. You can add a box of any flavor jello for flavoring if you like. Chopped pecans, mini marshmallows and coconut add flavor and texture if you like them. Chopped apples hold up well in this fruit salad. If adding fresh strawberries or bananas, you probably want to eat it within a couple of days. Grapes (I prefer red) and either mandarin oranges or clementines are a must. Here in the south, just about anything goes. Enjoy!
Laurie in Tennessee :)

Mike Leger said...

I created a diabetic version of this for my husband who loves sweets. I use a box of White Chocolate instant pudding and mix it with enough water to loosen the mix...about a cup. Then I wisk in 8 oz. sour cream and wisk til smooth. Fold in 8 oz. cool whip and a can of mandarin oranges drained and a can of well-drained fruit cocktail packed in juice. I add pecans for texture and he loves it. I substitute fresh fruit if I have it on hand.

Aran W said...

Is it still ambrosia if you skip the marshmallows?
Had to double take the jello for flavouring post as I'd forgotten that jello is powdered in America. Here, in Britain, it comes in a slab of already made up dense jelly (fun to eat like soft gumis) which is melted in boiling water (sucking up melting pieces is fun too, like eating hot boiled sweets/hard candy)diluted and poured into a mould.
Oh I could put chopped up into marshmallow sized bits jelly, hmmmm.
Just wondering though. Is no sugar fruit an American thing I have missed?

Anonymous said...

my mom used to make ambrosia all the time at Christmas, but she used peeled oranges, bananas, apples and cherries, layered then she would put coconut all over the top and sprinkled lots of sugar on top and then cherries on top. My brother and I always called it embroidery instead of ambrosia. I love my mom's but I think I would also like this. This is similar to watergate salad which I also love. I will certainly try this. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was given this recipe as a bride 50 years ago. However, the one I use is named 5 Cup Fruit Salad and only has five ingredients. It does not have the cool whip.......but then, Cool Whip was not around that long ago.....LOL.

Debra Bonnie said...

Can this be made a day in advance?

Brittany said...

Just made this for our small group and church and it was really good! A big hit! Most recipes I've tried from Pinterest have gone in the garbage but this one is going in the recipe box! Thanks!

Kim Honeycutt said...

So refreshing and good. Thanks! Pinned it!

KENTUCKY LADY 717 said...

I love it, but people I make it for doesn't like coconut in it.....and I am beginning to dislike it too, seems the more you chew, the bigger the coconut gets and it never goes away :) I used to eat MOUNDS candy bars and love them, so I bought some the other day, and same thing with the coconut.....you could not chew it up enough,I've heard others say the same thing....could it be the coconut ? Does anyone know.....I think I used to buy CHOPPED coconut, but all I see now is SHREDDED.....that may be the problem.....or may have to buy a fresh coconut.....any ideas here?

Anonymous said...

I have been making this Ambrosia salad for years but we don't use cool whip in ours, My family looks for it every year at Thanksgiving and we use fruit cocktail. we just love it.

Lorrie A said...

I usually put marshmallows--(I like to use fruity pastel colored), coconut and sour cream in bowl over night. The next day, I add pineapple, fresh cut apple pieces, grapes, diced peaches-(drained), mandarin oranges, fresh diced pears, diced apricots(drained) and sliced bananas along with a small tub of cool whip, I accent with red maraschino cherries. Oh, yum! It doesn't last long, that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

Looks tasty. Am going to make some for Christmas. Thanks. Mother used to make an ambrosia but she used cooked rice as a base and hand whipped cream, cocoanut and M. cherries, pecans,oranges, can't remember what other fruits...I was often in trouble because I snuck in the fridge a lot, just for a bite. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting up this recipe. My mom made this growing up, and I never really knew what she put in it. Not many references for it online either.

Anonymous said...

I use the flavored mini marshmallows and use drained crushed pineapple instead of the bits. For some reason, using the flavored marshmallows cut the sweetness and more people enjoy it!

Unknown said...

My husband's 103-year old grandmother always makes a big bowl of "rice" for Christmas. He just loves it! She dotes on him and he adores her. The recipe includes white rice, Cool Whip, fruit cocktail, marshmallow fluff, and sometimes, pecans. It is very airy and easy to eat. I don't want to know how many calories are in a portion!