Sunday, May 22, 2011
Ambrosia salad. The name conjures thoughts of Greek gods and... well...Edward Scissorhands. It is a name wrapped in the nostalgic mythos of backyard barbeques and weak attempts to get kids to eat more fruit. Fruit coated in sweet, whipped goodness. It was dessert, salad and side dish all in one.
It was the nostalgic feelings that lead me to hunt down this recipe. A friend was hosting a birthday party of our youth. Silly sting, pinatas and teenage mutant ninja turtles. Ambrosia salad seemed like the the perfect fit. I recall similar sweet, whipped cream coated fruit salads from my youth...but they usually went by the moniker fruit fluff. I vaguely recalled lime jello or pisctchio pudding being involved, but I was a kid. It was sweet and fruit...it didn't really matter at the time. The recipe I ended up basing mine on what appeared to be a common interpretation of the seemingly infinite versions of this dessert-like salad.
But of course I made some changes of my own.
adapted from a recipe at cooks.com
2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 jars maraschino cherries, drained
1 can coconut flakes
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
4 oz. sour cream
16 oz. Cool Whip
Combine sour cream and Cool Whip. Fold in all other ingredients. Chill covered for at least 2 hours.
This recipe was verily vague on what constitutes a "can." But sometimes such ambiguous instructions lead to the best results. I was used to seeing tiny jars of cherries and mini cans of mandarin oranges, but in all honesty, I have no what sizes this person was alluding to.
In the end I used one 16 oz can of pineapple chunks, one 14.5 oz jar of mandarin oranges, one 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries, and because it wasn't nostalgic enough, one 16 oz can of fruit cocktail. In all cases I opted for fruit in juices or light syrup instead of heavy syrups. I suppose it doesn't really matter as all of the fruit was drained, but corn syrup is typically one thing I do avoid as much as possible. Ironic, I know, as it is a major ingredient in Cool Whip.
I also omitted the coconut for the pickier eaters at the party. The dressing remained unaltered.
This trip to our youth disappeared faster than the more traditional and healthful fruit salad present. I take that to mean it was very well received...