You know those food memories that swirl deep in your brain? 225 food writer Maggie Heyn Richardson has one for ambrosia. Her grandparents used to make it every holiday season, a stripped-down version that included fresh orange and grapefruit sections, sliced bananas, shredded coconut and maraschino cherries. They left out marshmallows, and if nuts were included, she emphatically directed her spoon around them. The way the flavors of the fruit mixed with tropical coconut was a transformative diversion for picky kids weary of casseroles.
Maggie still makes her own version of “ambrosia,” and it always includes coconut. Fresh fruit salad is a great way to use local citrus that are in abundance during the winter months. There is also a myriad of possibilities in a composed fruit salad. At the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse, the birthplace of farm-to-table cooking in California, chef founder Alice Waters commented on the power of the locally sourced fruit bowl on the restaurant’s dessert menu. “It’s something that takes a lot of discernment on the part of the cooks,” she said in an interview in 2011. “… choosing just the right moment for that fruit and connecting with the farmers at the right minute—to bring just the right taste to the table.”
Another plus: Preparing fresh fruit for dessert is so much faster and easier than tedious baking. From marshmallow-y ambrosia to fruit salad scented with mint and crystalized ginger, there are endless options for turning the local bounty into something memorable.
Read on for Maggie’s recipe for a Pomegranate Ginger Fruit Salad, which originally appeared in a Dec. 2016 edition of 225 Dine.