Happy Easter, Passover, and Spring to everyone. This recipe for Light Ambrosia Salad has a special place in my culinary collection. I first ate this wonderful salad, also known as Twenty-four Hour Salad, almost 39 years ago on Easter Sunday.
I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy at the time and I was invited over to my sponsor family’s house for Easter dinner. It was the first time meeting them and I was very excited to spend a special holiday away from the academy grounds. Little did I know that this family would become my home away from home. So much so, that I considered their children my “little brothers and sisters” and Joe and Karie became my second parents. As time went on, and I had a family of my own, my children even called them Grandpa Joe and Grandma Karie.
Karie is an amazing cook and for this particular dinner she had a spread that she spent hours cooking, all the family favorites, that made me and my friends feel like we were back home again. I know there were tons of goodies, but the one that stood out in my mind was this recipe for Light Ambrosia Salad.
What really made it different for me was how light it was compared to other fruit salads like this. I don’t know about you, but when I think of an Ambrosia Salad, it usually is the furthest thing from light. You know, it’s the dish your Great Aunt brings to the holiday gathering that is laden with a heavy mayonnaise dressing, coconut, fruits you are not even sure of what they are and, gulp, not the thing you run to first. It’s typically the dish that you were forced to “at least take one bite of”, so as to be polite. However, I just love how this version of Light Ambrosia Salad, truly is an updated Ambrosia recipe. A wonderful combination of fruits, in a light and tangy lemon custard, with the added crunch of cashews or almonds. You are going to love it!
Light Ambrosia Salad will be perfect for that next brunch you are planning. The next baby or bridal shower you throw, or as a light spring dessert. So, enjoy this recipe that has a special place in my kitchen and the memory of when I first tasted it, has a special place in my heart. Happy Spring Gatherings from the Memorable Kitchen.
- 1-20 oz can pineapple tidbits (reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice)
- 1-16 oz can pitted dark sweet cherries
- 2-11 oz cans mandarin oranges
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows (optional)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup light cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped or 2 cups Cool Whip
- 1 cup unsalted cashews or almonds
- Drain all the fruit, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice. Place the fruit together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Place pineapple juice, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and light cream in a bowl. Whisk together until well blended. Place ingredients in the top of a double boiler, or if bowl is heat resistant, place over a pot of simmering water.
- Cook for approximately 7-10 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from stove and cool to room temperature.
- Combine lemon custard, fruit, whipped cream and marshmallows, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. The recipe recommends 24 hours.
- Stir in nuts before serving.
- Adapted from a recipe by Karie Strosnider