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Author Notes: Ambrosia was ripe for a refresh. I started with pineapple – bright like mandarin oranges, yet, well, not canned – and roasted beets (do roast them, which brings out their sweetness), and mixed the two with grated ginger, raw sugar, and shredded coconut. (You can use unsweetened flaked coconut, but I prefer the sweetened, soft shredded kind for this recipe.) Usually you mix together all the ingredients at once, and then let it macerate for a few hours. In this new-fangled version, I let the fruit and coconut macerate, and finish the rest just before serving. In place of the marshmallows, which can stay in the 70s, I made a whipped sour cream topping that gets spooned on top of the salad and sits aloft like a cloud. As you eat the gently spiced fruit salad, you mix in the cream, lightening it, softening the edges, and bringing ambrosia a whole lot closer to the 21st century. —Amanda Hesser
- 3 cups cubed (1/2-inch) pineapple
- 1 cup cubed (1/2-inch) roasted beets
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Pinch cayenne
- In a large bowl, mix together the pineapple, beets, coconut, ginger, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Chill for 1 to 4 hours. In a small bowl, whip the cream and remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold in the sour cream. Season the pineapple mixture to taste with a few small pinches cayenne, and spoon mixture into a bowl. Serve the fruit salad, topped with a generous helping of whipped cream, to mix in as it's eaten.
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