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Fruit Ambrosia


Fruit Ambrosia is a classic Southern dessert, and while I'm not from the South, I love it just the same. Rather than using that fake "whipped topping", this recipe (from Cook's Country Dec-Jan 2013) uses real whipped cream with a blend of sour cream, orange zest and vanilla. The technique of macerating fresh citrus fruit, and allowing the fruit juices to drain, yields a fluffy fruit salad that is creamy, not over-the-top sweet. Oh, don't forget the coconut (or not). Sweetened coconut is toasted and you have an updated version of Fruit Ambrosia.

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Rate this recipe 4.6/5 (22 Votes)


  • For the fruit (use fresh citrus, what's in season):
  • 5 large oranges ( used a combination of blood orange, Cara Cara orange and naval oranges
  • 2 large grapefruits (I used Texas Ruby Reds)
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled


Preparation time 25mins
Cooking time 45mins
Adapted from


Step 1

For the coconut:
Preheat the oven to 350F and spread the coconut in an even layer. Toast for 8-10 minutes, turning the coconut (with a spatula) halfway between. Watch closely, that it's ready when it turns golden brown. If you're not careful, it can easily burn. Set aside to cool.

For the fruit:
Grate 1 teaspoon zest from 1 orange; set aside.

Cut away peel and pith from oranges and grapefruits.

Quarter oranges and grapefruits, then slice crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. NOTE: I recommend using the "supreme" method of slicing the grapefruits, which is more time-consuming. This isn't mandatory, but the membrane in between slices can be a bit "chewy".

Combine oranges, grapefruits, pineapple. Taste the fruit. I find that my fruit was very fresh, and quite sweet (including the grapefruit) so I didn't need to add sugar. Otherwise, add 2 tablespoons sugar in bowl and toss gently to combine. Transfer fruit mixture to colander set over bowl and let drain for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; discard liquid (or save for another use).

NOTE You can prepare the fruit up to 24 hours in advance and the dressing up to 4 hours ahead.

For the whipped cream:
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream, sour cream, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, orange zest, and vanilla together on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.

Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes.

Taste the whipped cream. I found that I needed to add a couple more tablespoons of sugar and a little more vanilla. So, adjust to your personal taste.

NOTE: For makeahead, refrigerate the components separately and combine to serve.

Gently fold fruit mixture, whipped cream mixture, and coconut together in bowl. Serve.

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