One of Derek’s pet peeves is when people refer to Ambrosia as “fruit salad”. He hates expecting a salad with fresh fruit and getting a “salad” of fruit cocktail, cool whip, and marshmallows, which is often what Ambrosia is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for that. My mom used to make it with coconut for Thanksgiving and it was always tasty. I thought it would be fun to make a version with fresh fruit and class it up with homemade whipped cream.
Let’s get to it!
The first order of business is to get some of the moisture out of the fruit. To do this, you’ll mix the pineapple chunks, grape halves, and orange segments with the granulated sugar in a bowl. The blueberries don’t need this treatment since their juices are self-contained (if that makes sense?).
Once it’s all mixed together, pour the fruit in a colander. If you want to keep the juices for a later use (hello cocktails!), put a bowl underneath your colander. Let that sit about ten minutes. While the fruit is macerating (fancy word for adding sugar to fruit to release its juices), you’ll make the whipped cream.
Whip the cream with the whisk attachment in a stand mixer until it’s stiff.
Then add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and switch to the paddle attachment. You’re not whisking any further because you don’t want to over-whip the cream and turn it into butter. You won’t really taste the cream cheese but it helps stabilize the whipped cream so you don’t have a soggy mess a few hours after making the salad.
Mix until it’s combined and there’s no lumps of cream cheese.
Now give the fruit in the colander a few shakes to release any more juice and put it in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, about three quarters of the whipped cream mixture, walnuts, and about two thirds of the toasted coconut. If you are serving this to someone that doesn’t like coconut (I have one of those people in my household, sad) you can leave the toasted coconut out and serve it on the side.
Stir it all together and add more whipped cream if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted coconut and serve.
I love this salad! It still tastes like ambrosia with the whipped cream, but the toasted coconut adds some texture and the fresh fruit makes it less sweet. It’s definitely going to be something I serve as a dessert in the summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll serve it at our board game night for something different.
- 3 cups fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 cup seedless grape halves
- 2 orange segments
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Mix pineapple, grape halves, and orange segments with granulated sugar in a bowl. Pour into a colander to drain for 10 minutes.
- Whip the cream in a stand mixer until stiff. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat with a paddle attachment until combined and smooth.
- Give the fruit in the colander a few shakes and put in a large bowl. Add blueberries, about 3/4 of the whipped cream mixture, walnuts, and about 2/3 thirds of toasted coconut.
- Stir together and add more whipped cream if needed.
- Sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut and serve.