Related: Another Unexpected Classic? This Mandarin Orange Cake
Ambrosia was ripe for a refresh. I started with pineapple — bright like mandarin oranges, yet 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 newfangled version, I let just the fruit and coconut macerate.
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.
Pineapple Beet Ambrosia
3 cups cubed (1/2-inch) pineapple
1 cup cubed (1/2-inch) roasted beets
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp raw sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
1. In a large bowl, mix together the pineapple, beets, coconut, ginger, and 1 tbsp sugar. Chill for 1 to 4 hours.
2. In a small bowl, whip the cream and remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold in the sour cream.
3. Season the pineapple mixture to taste with a few small pinches cayenne, and then spoon the mixture into a bowl. Serve the fruit salad, topped with a generous helping of whipped cream, to be mixed in as it's being eaten.
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