Traditional Ambrosia

Southern ambrosia is traditionally made with  fruits from Mexico and Central America that came to stores in the rural South during the winter–oranges, pineapples, bananas, and coconuts–lightly sweetened with cane sugar. Maraschino cherries have long been an option.

Extract the meat from the coconut, skin and grate. The pineapple should be golden, aromatic, and somewhat soft, peeled, diced, and macerated.  Use sectioned Valencia oranges, which are sweeter than navels. These too should be macerated and chilled.

To serve,  drain fruit and layer into a glass bowl or trifle. Top with a generous sprinkling of hand-grated coconut and a light sprinkling of sugar. Add more fruit along with a few sliced (slightly green) bananas. Top with coconut. Combine some of the juices from the macerating to drizzle over the fruit; reserve the rest for rum punch.

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