2000s Recipes + Menus


  • Active Time:35 min
  • Start to Finish:2 hrs (includes chilling)
January 2008
This juicy, fresh-fruit version evokes those described in 19th-century southern cookbooks. Flakes of fresh coconut provide a nice chew, and a little Sherry gives it sophistication and complexity. Ambrosia is often served as part of the transition to dessert, but at a generous meal like this one it fits in well earlier on, providing a bright, refreshing contrast to the main course.
  • 1 medium coconut (see cooks' note, below)
  • 8 large navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cream Sherry
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  • Pierce softest eye of coconut with a small screwdriver, then drain liquid and discard. Bake coconut in a shallow baking pan until it cracks, about 20 minutes. When cool, wrap in a towel and break shell with a hammer. Pry flesh from shell with screwdriver and peel off brown membrane with a vegetable peeler. Rinse coconut flesh. Coarsely grate coconut on large holes of a box grater using light pressure in long strokes to produce long, feathery flakes.
  • Cut peel and pith from oranges with a sharp paring knife. Working over a large bowl, cut segments free from membranes, letting them drop into bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl.
  • Gently toss oranges with coconut, sugar, salt, and Sherry.
  • Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.
Cooks' notes: Coconuts can sometimes be rancid. You may want to buy an extra one.
Orange can be cut 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Ambrosia can be chilled up to 2 hours.
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