Since a bunch of groups are doing a bit of retrospective look at the year, I wanted to revisit something I worked on a lot before I started getting into facebook groups this year. Here’s a post I started on reddit back in March of last year, and it’s my favorite piece of work from last year. It’s received some of my most flattering reviews, despite it being largely overlooked. Have a go if you have everything!
So as spring starts up I started thinking about the picnics/bbq parties that were common on my block as a kid. Nothing fancy, since it was a pretty poor neighborhood, but always a lot of people and a lot of food. There was always at least three minivan driving moms pushing as much Ambrosia salad on every kid that walked by the food, and as a kid I got stuck on the stuff. So without further ado, I present to you Soccer Mom.
Vanilla Swirl and Whipped Cream: This provides that creamy whipped filler that makes up the large part of Ambrosia. TFA Whipped Cream is very reminiscient of actual whipped cream but lacks the body to really feel -full- to me so the Vanilla Swirl is here to bolster the depth of Whipped Cream without overtaking it. FA Meringue finishes the cream profile adding that soft sugary pillow for the rest of the profile to feel completed. Previous attempts included TFA VBIC, FA Vienna Cream, and FA Cream Fresh, but this landed me right where I wanted to be.
FRUITS: I’ve always remembered Mandarin Oranges and Pineapple being the bulk of the fruit in Ambrosia as a kid, sometimes with grapes and cherries. I didn’t have any flavors that come close to fresh graps so I went with Cherry, Mandarin, And Pineapple as my core, with some FA Forest Fruit to add some depth to the back notes.
FA Mandarin: At 2% it just stands out enough without being overpowering. I tried first at 3% and it was difficult to pick out the Pineapple over it, and under 2% it wasn’t noticeable.
CAP Golden Pineapple: Still my favorite Pineapple I’ve found so far. It’s very sweet, and very smooth for a pineapple flavoring. At 2% again it’s just strong enough to be perceptible, but not strong enough to throw off the Mandarin or other stuff.
FA Forest fruit: I really love FF for it’s general versatility. At 1.5% it boosts the back notes without adding a specific berry flavor. Ambrosia is one of those dishes that the fruit notes meld pretty closely with the whipped cream and this really gives that sort of general fruitiness I was after, without being overly specific or affecting the citrus notes.
FA Fuji: My favorite apple, and it works perfectly here. The apple notes are definitely in the background here, but that’s okay. Fuji’s main job is to help the fruits stay juicy, to counteract the FA walnut. It also lends some light background apple notes, though they aren’t immediately obvious.
INW Cherries: My favorite part of Ambrosia was always the ones that had cherries in them! Cherry as we know is a tricky and fickle beast, so I wanted to keep this on the low side to keep the cherry from completing blindsiding everything else, it will also be bolstered by the cherry notes I pick up in Marzipan. INW Cherry tasted closer to a natural sweet cherry over INW Cherries which is a little more tart like a Maraschino Cherry. Either would work here at the same percentage so it’s just a preference thing.
NUTS: I chose FA Walnut as my primary nut to add some crunchy nut tones to finish off this recipe. FA Walnut is a little dry, earthy and lightly sweet. A perfect light finish to the overall profile. Initially I had this much higher but it tended to stomp on the cherry profile and give a dry mouthfeel so I lowered it to 1% and bolstered it with Marzipan
FA Marzipan: I could write tomes for all it’s wonderful uses in all things nutty and candy. I definitely pick up a slight cherry like note in addition to it’s candied almond profile, so it’s a perfect fit to help flesh out the cherry notes without forcing a medicinal taste or causing it to overpower the other fruits here.
I found this juice to be really good fresh, but absolutely 10x better after an overnight steep. I’m on my third batch of it since making this version and I simply can’t put the stuff down. I’ve never really believed in ADVs but if I had one, this would be it.