• Yield: 20 to 24 servings

  • Time: 30 minutes, plus draining time for the fruit cocktail total



  • 1 (1-gallon) can fruit cocktail 

  • Red food coloring 

  • 1 (16-ounce) tub prepared whipped cream 

  • 1 (14-ounce) bag shredded coconut 

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag mini colored marshmallows 


1. Drain the fruit cocktail and spread the fruit on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the fruit in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 24 hours to drain completely.

2. In a large bowl, stir a few drops of the food coloring into the whipped cream to tint it pink. Gently fold in the drained fruit with the coconut and marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes a generous 4 quarts ambrosia, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the ambrosia will keep up to 3 days.



  • Prepared ambrosia 

  • Banana pudding (four 3.5-ounce boxes banana pudding, prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions) 

  • Vanilla wafers, for garnish 

  • Sliced ripe bananas, for garnish 

  • Red maraschino cherries (well-drained), for garnish 


Alternate layers of the ambrosia and banana pudding in a large bowl or trifle dish, garnishing the layers as inspired with vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and maraschino cherries. Decorate the top as desired. This can be made up to a few hours in advance (to keep the banana slices from browning, brush with a little lemon water).

Each of 24 servings, without garnishes
Calories: 288
Protein: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 49 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 8 grams
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Sugar: 43 grams
Sodium: 300 mg

Adapted from Charles Phoenix. Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times