Tropical-Fruit Ambrosia Gelee

Photo: Martyn Thompson
Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs

A gelled confection made with coconut milk and studded with dried papaya and Maraschino cherries evokes both retro 1950s desserts and the Victorian-era pudding known as blancmange.


  • 1 ¼ cups fresh pineapple juice

  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3 packages (¼ ounce each) unflavored powdered gelatin

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • cup sugar

  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt

  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1 ½ ounces dried papaya, cut into ¼-inch pieces (¼ cup)

  • 1 jar (10 ounces) Maraschino cherries, drained, stemmed, and halved

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Fresh pineapple wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Bring pineapple juice to a boil in a medium saucepan; continue to boil, skimming foam from top, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine coconut milk and 1/2 cup cold water in a medium bowl, then sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour hot pineapple juice over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Let cool completely.

  2. Whisk together cream and vanilla in a large bowl until foamy. Slowly add sugar, whisking until soft peaks form. Whisk in yogurt and gelatin mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until thickened slightly and beginning to set, about 20 minutes.

  3. Whisk mixture again until smooth. Fold in coconut, papaya, and cherries. Lightly coat a nonreactive 10-to-12-cup bowl with cooking spray; transfer mixture to bowl and smooth top. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

  4. Dip bottom of bowl into warm water 30 seconds, then run a thin knife around edge to loosen. Invert bowl onto a platter, then lift to remove bowl. (If gelee does not release, return to warm water 20 seconds more.) Serve, with pineapple wedges.

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