Mango-Rose Fruit Salad

Ann Ittoop shares her family's recipe.

Ann Ittoop's Mango-Rose Fruit Salad
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

The finale of Ann Ittoop's childhood Easter meal, Mango-Rose Fruit Salad wasn't ever meant to be the star of the show. After a feast of curry-soaked appams and fluffy biryani with raita and popadam, Ittoop's family was rarely hungry. Still, the holiday called for a celebratory dessert, so Ittoop's mother kept it light and simple with a floral, fragrant Mango-Rose Fruit Salad.

A first-generation Indian American who grew up in North Carolina, Ann Ittoop runs her own food blog, The Familiar Kitchen, where she celebrates both her South Indian heritage and her upbringing in America's South. For Ittoop, the kitchen is a place where she connects not only to her culture, but also to the people she holds dearest.

"She recalls her mom telling her about coming to the U.S., trading chiffon saris and long, braided hair for jeans and a short bob yet feeling grounded by the food she cooked," writes Priya Krishna for Southern Living. "'I have to document this. I have to pass it down,' Ittoop says. 'I don't want to lose myself.'"

In Ittoop's Mango-Rose Fruit Salad, the rose essence is subtle, adding a delicate floral aroma to the mango mixture that enrobes chopped banana, apple, strawberry, pineapple, and grapes. This memorable dessert gets its golden color from mango pulp and cream infused with dried saffron threads. The varying levels of tartness in the chopped fruit mixture provides a nice contrast to the mango sauce. This fruit salad holds up well in the refrigerator, so it can be made the morning of the day you plan to serve.


  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, warmed

  • 2 pinches of dried saffron threads

  • 1 large mango, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)

  • 1 large banana, cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium-size red apple (such as McIntosh), peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup)

  • 1 cup chopped (bite-size pieces) fresh strawberries (from 6 oz. strawberries)

  • 1 cup chopped (bite-size pieces) fresh pineapple

  • 12 seedless green grapes, halved

  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons culinary rose essence (such as Preema)

  • 1 cup canned mango pulp (such as Deep Kesar Mango Pulp)

  • cup canned sweetened condensed coconut milk (such as Nature's Charm)

  • 6 green cardamom pods, smashed, pods discarded and seeds reserved

  • teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place cream in a large bowl; sprinkle saffron over cream. Let saffron "bloom" for 10 minutes. Place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, gently toss together mango, banana, apple, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, lemon juice, and rose essence in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir together mango pulp and condensed coconut milk in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. Using a mortar and pestle, grind cardamom seeds to a fine powder. Add to cream mixture in bowl, along with salt. Beat cream mixture with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

  4. Gently stir mango pulp mixture into chopped fruit mixture; fold in whipped cream mixture until combined. Serve immediately, or store, covered, in refrigerator up to 8 hours.

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