Christmas Ornaments on Tree
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Pam Ostrow
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La Belle Cuisine - More Fruit Recipes

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    Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith,"

 

Christmas Ambrosia Collection

 

 

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"One of the most important aspects about family traditions - rituals
that families continue to do year after year - is that traditions have
symbols and families need symbols. You bring out the old glass, you
sing the old songs, you say the same prayer, you wear a certain
outfit, you set the table a certain way."

~ Dr. Stephen J. Wolin


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Basket of Oranges, Greece
Basket of Oranges, Greece
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Pineapple
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Oranges on a Branch, 1885
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Winslow Homer
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La Belle Cuisine


According to Greek mythology, ambrosia (meaning "immortality") was the
food of the gods on Mt. Olympus. We Southerners quite often add Ambrosia
to our Holiday menus. When I envision a typical Southern Christmas menu,
it is automatically included. The problem however with publishing an
ambrosia recipe is that it usually starts a controversy. Most families have
their own favorite version. If we had to narrow it down to the bare
essentials, ambrosia would have to include oranges and coconut. Others
insist on pineapple and/or bananas. And some folks don’t consider it
complete without pecans. Marshmallows? We vote a resounding "nay".
Add them if you wish. Variety is, after all, the spice of life. Enjoy!

We shall begin , then, with the very simple. classic version...

 

Christmas Ambrosia

My Mother's Southern Desserts:
More than 200 Treasured Family Recipes
for Holiday and Everyday Celebrations

by James Villas with Martha Pearl Villas,
1998, William Morrow and Co., Inc.

Alibris 

“If ever Mother were a purist about her vast repertory of classic Southern
desserts, ambrosia would be at the top of the list as one specialty that defies
modification in any shape for form. ‘People who add grapefruit, pineapple,
grapes, bananas, and Lord knows what else to ambrosia simply don’t under-
stand ambrosia,’ she lectures sternly, forever convinced that it’s the simplicity
of this subtle combination of orange and coconut traditionally served at
Christmas that makes it the prefect foil to fruitcake, elaborate pies, rich
cookies, and other aggressive Yuletide treats. I’ve never once known Mother
to make ambrosia except at Christmas – served, of course, in one of her finest
cut-crystal bowls. Here fresh coconut and orange juice are obligatory.”

6 large oranges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups grated fresh coconut
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Peel the oranges, cutting away all the white pith, then carefully remove
the orange sections from the membranes that surround them and discard
any seeds. Arrange a layer of orange sections in the bottom of a large
crystal bowl and sprinkle a little of the sugar and coconut on top. Repeat
the layers till the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of coconut.
Drizzle the orange juice over the top, cover the bowl with plastic wrap,
and chill well before serving in crystal compote dishes.
Yield:  6 servings

Martha’s Sweet Note:  To remove fresh coconut from the shell after draining
the milk (using an ice pick or screwdriver), preheat oven to 400 F. and bake
the shell for about 115 minutes. While it it still hot, split the shell with a
hammer. The meat should come out easily and cleanly, but if it doesn’t, pry
it from the shell with a small, heavy knife and remove any brown skin with
a vegetable peeler.

 

 Mary Margaret’s Ambrosia Bowl

One 15 1/4-ounce can pineapple chunks
[Naturally, a fresh pineapple would be better]
2 tablespoons Cointreau or light rum
4 large navel oranges, peeled, sliced crosswise
4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
4 medium bananas, sliced diagonally
One 3 1/2-ounce can flaked coconut
Maraschino cherries (optional garnish)

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Set pineapple aside. Combine reserved pineapple juice and Cointreau or rum, mixing well; set aside. Layer half
of orange slices in a large serving bowl (preferably, your prettiest crystal bowl!) and sprinkle them with confectioner's sugar. Top with half the
banana slices and half of the pineapple. Sprinkle with half the coconut. Repeat the layers of orange slices, confectioner's sugar, bananas and pineapple. Pour pineapple juice mixture over fruit. Sprinkle with
remaining coconut. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if desired.
Chill 3 to 4 hours. 8 to 10 servings.

 

Gigi’s Ambrosia Cream Cheese Mold

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
One 15 1/2-ounce can chunk pineapple
(do not use fresh pineapple)
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
6 ounces cream cheese,
room temperature
1 orange, peeled, sectioned and diced
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or
walnuts (optional)
Orange slices
Maraschino cherries

Soften the gelatin in the cold water; let mixture stand 5 minutes. Drain
the pineapple, reserving juice. Add enough water to juice to make 1 cup.
Place juice in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling. Add gelatin mixture
and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in the sugar, lemon juice,
and softened cream cheese, using a wire whisk to blend. Chill until gelatin
is partially set. Fold in the pineapple chunks, diced orange, coconut and
nuts (if using). Spoon mixture into lightly oiled 1-quart mold. Chill until
firm. Unmold, and garnish with orange slices and maraschino cherries.
Serves 6.

 

Ambrosia
Arnaud’s
The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook
by Deirdre Stanforth, 1967, Doubleday & Co., Inc.

 Alibris

1 dash lemon juice
1 ounce applejack brandy
1 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce Cointreau
Champagne

Shake lemon juice, brandies, and Cointreau with ice and strain
into a champagne glass. Top with champagne.

 

Michele's Christmas
Ambrosia Cheesecake

Candied Orange Peel
1 large thick-skinned orange
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons sugar

Pineapple Topping:
One 9-ounce can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter

Coconut Crust:
1 /4 cups flaked or freshly grated coconut
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds or
macadamia nuts, toasted

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  1 1/2 cups sugar
One 15-ounce can cream of coconut,
such as Coco Lopez

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 vanilla bean, split
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

For Candied Orange Peel: Using vegetable peeler cut peel from
orange in 1-inch-wide strips. Cut away any white pith from peel.
Cut peel into 3-inch-long 1/8-inch-wide julienne. Blanch peel in small
saucepan of boiling water 1 minute. Drain; rinse peel under cold water. Repeat blanching and rinsing of orange peel twice. Cook 1/2 cup water, Grand Marnier and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat, swirl-
ing pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to
simmer. Add peel and cook until glaze forms and almost all liquid eva-
porates, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer peel to
waxed paper-lined plate. separating each piece to prevent sticking. Cool
completely. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and let stand at
room temperature.)

For pineapple topping:
Drain the crushed pineapple, reserving syrup
and setting aside 3 tablespoons for use in the cheesecake. Blend the
pineapple and remaining syrup with sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice
and zest, and 1/2 cup pineapple juice. Cook, stirring, over medium heat
until the mixture is clear and thickened. Quickly blend in beaten egg,
stirring constantly. Add butter and cook, stirring, a few minutes longer.
Remove from heat and set aside while making cheesecake.

For Coconut Crust:
In a small bowl stir together the coconut and
chopped almonds or macadamia nuts. Add melted butter and stir until
well combined. Press coconut mixture evenly onto the bottom of a
10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For Filling:
Using electric mixer beat cream cheese in large bowl until
light. Add sugar and beat until blended. Add cream of coconut, salt and
lemon and orange zests. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Beat until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until combined. Pour filling
gently into crust-lined pan. Bake until crust browns slightly, about 1
hour and 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Finishing Touches:
When the cheesecake has completely cooled,
spread the Pineapple Topping over it. Sprinkle Candied Orange
Peel decoratively over the Pineapple Topping. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Run a small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cheese-
cake. Release pan sides. Devour!


Featured Archive Recipes:
Ambrosia Cake (Marcelle Bienvenu)
Bananarama
Brennan's Bananas Foster
Christmas Trifles
Crazy for Cranberries!
Focus on Citrus Fruit
Oodles of Oranges
Profusion of Pears
Winter Fruit Compote
 


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