I recently finished up a photo shoot for a client that left me with an abundance of tropical fruit. Admittedly, that’s a good problem to have but it’s also a time-sensitive one. Whenever I buy fresh fruit I have to know ahead of time exactly what I’ll be using it for, otherwise it just sits in the refrigerator, uneaten, until its dying (moldy) day.
Determined to make use of the beautiful mango and papaya bounty, I diced them up for quick ambrosia salad. I know – this is obviously not the most creative use of the fruit, but it’s certainly refreshing for summer and I knew without a doubt it would be enjoyed.
The recipe I use for the cream base is very simple, and the only real difference between it and the scores of other recipes online (and in church cookbooks and on time-worn recipe cards), is that I use homemade whipped cream instead of frozen whipped topping.
Also, it seems a downright shame that I didn’t include flaked coconut in this tropical version, but I’ve never liked coconut in any version of fruit salad. That’s just my preference. Feel free to include 1 cup of sweetened flake coconut if you’re inclined to.
The mango and papaya go well with the usual ambrosia salad mix-ins, and they are currently plentiful in US grocery stores (cheap, too!). I had a few kiwifruit in the fridge without a purpose, too, so I used slices as a pretty, edible garnish.
This is a lovely sweet bite on a hot day, and so very simple to make. I like using the multicolor fruity marshmallows in this recipe, but they can be swapped for white mini marshmallows.
Tropical Ambrosia Salad
- 1 cup 240 ml heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup 50g granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup 120g full fat sour cream
- 16 ounce jar maraschino cherries drained
- 11 ounce can mandarin orange segments drained
- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple drained
- 1 fresh papaya peeled seeded and cubed
- 1 fresh mango peeled and cubed
- 2 1/2 cups about 6 oz miniature fruit-flavored marshmallows
- 1 kiwifruit peeled and cut into wheels
- Place the whipping cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until slightly thickened. Gradually add in the granulated sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the sour cream into the whipped cream mixture.
- Set aside 8-10 whole maraschino cherries and halve the remaining cherries with a knife; pat dry.
- Add the halved cherries, oranges, pineapple, papaya chunks, mango chunks and mini marshmallows to the cream mixture. Fold together using a large rubber spatula. Divide into 8-10 dessert cups and garnish each with a whole cherry and half a kiwifruit wheel. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until time to serve.
- You may also pour the salad into 1.5 quart casserole dish and garnish the top with the cherries and kiwifruit. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
Whipped topping may be used in place of the 1 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup granulated sugar mixture.
Use extra marshmallows to garnish to the top of the dessert, if desired.
1/3 cup chopped pecans may be added to the salad or sprinkled on top of the salad.