Ambrosia, food of the gods

If you grew up in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, there’s a good chance this pudding will be instantly recognisable. If not, it’s high time you got acquainted.


This is ambrosia, food of the gods. I remember it sweeping through parties and social occasions of my childhood like a tidal wave of cream, fruit and pineapple lumps. My mother never made it, which gave it extra cachet. To my 10-year-old self, ambrosia was just about the most glamorous pudding ever invented. 


Thirty years later, I can vouch for many of its attributes. The mixture of cream and yoghurt is still tangy and rich, and it’s great fun anticipating the surprise in each mouthful – will it be a marshmallow or a juicy berry? I doubt it’s the food of the modern gods, given its extremely calorific ingredients, but it still makes a great pudding (or a very illicit breakfast).



The great thing about ambrosia is that it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, can be made for an intimate dinner for two or a feeding frenzy for 20 and it appeals to just about everyone. Children adore it and adults, though they pretend they are too grown up to eat marshmallows, will dig into the bowl as soon as your back is turned. It’s sort of an Antipodean Eton Mess, which makes it the perfect entry for this month’s Sweet New Zealand blogging challenge. This month my lovely friends Michelle and Anna of Munch Cooking are playing host and they’ve given it a Wellington theme to celebrate Wellington On a Plate. It’s also a fitting entry for the August edition of We Should Cocoa, in which guest host Rebecca of BakeNQuilt has chosen marshmallows as the special guest ingredient.

180ml (3/4 cup) cream

2 cups natural yoghurt (I particularly like The Collective’s Straight Up yoghurt in this)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups frozen berries – blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries

2 cups mini marshmallows

100g chocolate, roughly chopped

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Stir through the yoghurt and vanilla, then fold through the berries, marshmallows and chocolate (reserve a little of the chocolate to sprinkle on top). Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. I think it’s best the day it’s made, unless you’re eating it sneakily for breakfast the morning after. Serves 4-6.

Have a great week, everyone x



  1. August 18, 2014 / 9:47 am

    oh Lucy, Ambrosia is one of my all time faves. My Grandmother (Canadian by way of Scotland) used to make it for all of our family gatherings. Slightly more trashy than your version though…sour cream, tinned fruit cocktail, tinned mandarin oranges, mini marshmallows, desiccated coconut. She called it "Marshmallow Salad". deeeeeeeevine darling

    • August 19, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      Wow, that IS trashy (but I'm sure it was fabulous!)

  2. August 19, 2014 / 2:15 am

    How fun! I have not had this type of salad since I was very little. I like the addition of chocolate. Thanks for playing along with We Should Cocoa this month!

    • August 19, 2014 / 9:01 pm

      It's funny, it's one of those desserts that people ostensibly make for children but everyone loves it!

  3. August 19, 2014 / 7:40 am

    Yummy… Lucy your photos are fantastic. I am sooo keen to try this. Can I come over to yours and eat some?
    Sorry we didn't get to chat much on Saturday night. It was a really lovely evening..

    • August 19, 2014 / 9:02 pm

      Thank you! It was actually quite hard to photograph due to some little hands trying to get in the way. Perhaps I'll have to bring some to yours… x

  4. August 19, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    never heard of it and I suspect it would have been one of those cold desserts I would have disliked as a child but am wondering if some choc chips would make me enjoy it

    • August 19, 2014 / 9:03 pm

      You've got to try it, it's insanely good. You could maybe try it with whipped coconut cream…?

  5. August 20, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    There is a sense of irony that Eton Mess is really just a mushed up pavlova, a kiwi invention, which is delicious yet the kiwi mess of choice shuns the crunch and piles in the fluffy marshmallows. I'm swooning at the sugar rush.

    • August 25, 2014 / 9:48 pm

      I have a theory (totally unsubstantiated) that the sugar rush is mitigated by the fat content of the cream and yoghurt… and think of all the antioxidants in those berries!

  6. August 21, 2014 / 3:10 pm

    Ooh Lucy, this sounds even better than Eton mess. How come I didn't come across it once in our 6 months NZ trip??? This is the most unusual We Should Cocoa entry I've seen this month – wonderful stuff. Thanks for playing along.

  7. August 22, 2014 / 4:13 am

    I am salivating. I crave this sometimes. Like, seriously crave it.

    • August 25, 2014 / 9:49 pm

      Then you must have it! There's a quote about life being too short not to have dessert, isn't there?

  8. Anonymous
    May 28, 2016 / 4:06 am

    try spreading it all over a pav . . . unbelievably good.

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