Ambrosia is a famous Southern recipe found on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables far and wide. It is often a combination of canned fruits and miniature marshmallows smothered in a creamy dressing. It was one of my grandmother's signature salads, usually competing for a spot on the table with Waldorf Surprise or Maraschino Delight. But the funny thing is, Ambrosia can be a truly sensational salad when made with perfectly fresh ingredients.
We are in the peak of citrus season right now, with grocery stores and farmers markets filled with sweet and sour blood oranges, Cara Caras, Satsumas, Clementines, and more. These sunshine-y fruits make even the coldest days of winter more bearable, with the whisper of sunnier days to come.
Valentine's Day seems like the perfect opportunity to make this refreshing dish. For those who don't obsess over chocolate as much as me, it may even be the perfect dessert. Just a little sweet, but not too much. And the beautiful jewel colors are the perfect way to say "I love you." (Well, aside from making a red velvet cake.)
Now tell me, what are you preparing for your sweetie this Valentine's Day?
Blood Orange Ambrosia with Whipped Crème Fraêche
4 pounds citrus fruits (I used blood oranges, mandarins, and tangerines)
1 apple, cubed
1 banana, sliced
1/2 grapes, sliced in half
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) container crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Segment the citrus fruit over a bowl or storage container so that you catch any juice. Strain and reserve juice for another use. (Blood orange mimosas, anyone?)
Gently combine citrus segments, apple, banana, grapes, and sugar together. Allow to chill while making whipped crème fraiche. Fold in coconut flakes before serving.
With a stand or electric mixer, beat the crème fraiche gently. Add the heavy cream and whip until foamy and starting to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks are just formed.
Serve the ambrosia in small glasses with a big dollop of crème fraiche on top.