Deck the glasses of red and green fruit with heavenly strands of Persian fairy floss. This festive fruit salad will bring so much joy, fun and frivolity. All the wonderful traits of a good holiday season.
Why I Love Red and Green Fruit Salad with Vanilla Persian Fairy Floss
As the Christmas season rolls around all too quickly, we are starting to plan our Christmas get togethers with family and friends. Every year we are inundated with festive celebrations every weekend in December.
As we do with all Christmas parties, everyone brings a plate or two and as part of the menu planning, I wanted to come up with a fruit salad idea which wasn’t too rich, was super easy yet still had a massive “wow” factor.
I tried this pomegranate recipe at Phen’s house recently where we had surprise birthday celebrations for a 6-year-old.
When I brought these out, it was mayhem! Kids aged up to 17 couldn’t wait to get their hands on one. And you know what, I’m hardly re-inventing the wheel. Just a really fun addition to a fruit salad for celebratory and festive events.
In the end, it was the adults who smashed the Persian fairy floss. All gone in almost no time!
What is Persian Fairy Floss?
Persian fairy floss is a traditional hand spun Persian sweet that is similar to cotton candy.
But unlike the ones you’d find at carnivals and fairs, Persian fairy floss is extremely delicate and it resembles strands of fine woven wool. Expert confectioners hand-pull these heavenly strands of sugar to create this texture and it quite literally melts in your mouth.
The correct terminology for Persian fairy floss is “Pashmak” which means “little wool” in Persian. An apt name for this confectionery that resembles sheep’s wool.
This finely spun sugar came out of the Iranian city of Yazd known for its various traditional Persian sweets such as Baghlava, Qottab, and Gaz. Flavours may be added to the fairy floss to include vanilla, pistachio, rose, saffron and many more.
There is a Chinese version of Pashmak known as Dragon’s beard candy and also a Turkish variant known as Pişmaniye.
The most commercially known Persian fairy floss on the market is the Pariya brand and they have been making them since 1994. I was able to get them at my supermarket in Australia and it would seem they have a huge presence all around the world.
Their flavours include: decadent Chocolate, floral Orange Blossom, earthy Pistachio, subtle Rose, fragrant Saffron or creamy Vanilla.
How to Store Persian Fairy Floss?
According to Pariya, follow these instructions:
- Keep in a cool and dark place between 4 – 16 degrees Celsius.
- Pashmak may be stored in a refrigerator as long as it is in a dry location in the fridge.
- Pashmak will lose its texture and melt into a block of hard sugar if the above conditions are not followed.
Essentially, they don’t keep for very long. When I opened the packet, it came in 3 sealed bags. So, when I had leftovers, I did the same for storage.
Don’t be fooled by the packaging. A 200g packet yields a lot! It is quite compact and when you pull it apart, there is a generous amount of fairy floss.
Did I also mentioned they are TO DIE FOR??? Er yeah….so, so good! Truly such a fun fruit salad for kids!
Why Did I Choose These Fruits?
Whenever I choose fruits for a fruit salad, I would either sit and mull at my desk and imagine what it would all look and taste like or I’m wandering back and forth the fruit section of the market, trying to decide what works.
There are essentially a few parts to my decision-making process and I thought I’d share it with you in case you’re ever in a situation of needing to come up with a recipe but don’t quite know where to start:
Do I have a theme or colour scheme I am trying to achieve? In this instance, I was trying to create a dessert fruit salad for Christmas so red and green was my starting point.
I then work out what fruits are in season and if they are not, is there anywhere I could possibly source them. Once I have it stuck in my head that I’m after something specific, I will drive everywhere like a lunatic to find it!
The next step is to look at the combination of flavours, textures and what it would look like together.
As an example, for this recipe, I chose strawberries because, well it’s so Christmassy, grapes because they are sweet, green kiwi because the black seeds against the green flesh is so pretty and the pomegranate because it’s a different shape, has crunch and is so yum.
The combination of these 4 fruits provide textures which were soft, crunchy and juicy with flavours that were sweet and tart.
After that I work out if they will present well, depending on how I choose to cut them up.
I think about whether it would keep well, does it need to be eaten straight away, will it water, does it stain etc… That will help me determine if it’s something suitable for the occasion I am planning for.
How will I serve the fruit salad?
Because I wanted to showcase the green and red and I wanted height for the fairy floss, it was a no brainer that it would need to be served in a martini glass.
That in itself will help me make the decision of how I want to cut up the fruit to make it fit well in the glass, is easy to eat and to also have that ‘wow’ element.
So yes, that’s my process! You should see the looks on people’s faces when I am pacing up and down supermarket aisles or farmer’s market stalls.
And I know I stop right in the middle cocking my head left and right, looking for inspiration as I am making my decision! Nevertheless, my process has served me well over the years.
Do you do this too?
How to Make Red and Green Fruit Salad with Vanilla Persian Fairy Floss
Deseed a Pomegranate.
Cut the pomegranate in half across the body and not lengthwise from stem to stem. Stretch the albedo, which is the white, fleshy substance directly under the skin of a pomegranate, to loosen up the arils.
Over a bowl, place the pomegranate face down on your palm. With a wooden spoon, knock on the back of the pomegranate and the seeds will fall through your fingers into the bowl. I suggest placing the bowl in the sink as it can get a little messy.
Set the pomegranate arils aside in its own bowl. We don’t want to mix it with the rest of the fruit as it stains.
How To Prepare The Fruit Salad
Remove the stem and leaves off the strawberries and cut them into small cubes.
For the green kiwi fruit, cut off the ends and then peel them. I find that it’s easier to peel when it has an edge to start from. Then cut them into small cubes too.
As for the green grapes, wash them well and pat dry. If they are quite big, cut them into thirds. Otherwise half will do.
Mix all 3 fruits into a medium sized bowl and then divide them into exactly 4 portions.
How To Assemble The Fruit Salad
Have 4 stemmed glasses ready to go. A Martini glass works really well for this recipe.
Spoon half a portion into the glass. Then top it with a spoonful of pomegranate seeds.
Then add the second portion of fruit, topped again with another spoonful of pomegranate seeds. Essentially each glass will have 4 layers.
Then add a generous portion of vanilla Persian fairy floss on the top. You can stack it as high as you like or even drape it down the side. The Persian fairy floss is so delicate, it will flow beautifully over the glass.
And voila! Can this festive fruit salad be any easier?
The red and green of the fruit will tie in very nicely with your Christmas spread whilst the bright white vanilla Persian fairy floss just might conjure up bearded images of St Nicholas! No better fruit for kids and the whole family to enjoy!
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Red and Green Fruit Salad with Vanilla Persian Fairy Floss
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- De-seed the pomegranate. Cut the pomegranate in half. Stretch the flesh to loosen it up. Over a medium sized mixing bowl, place the pomegranate face down on your palm. With a wooden spoon, knock on the back of the pomegranate and the seeds will fall through your fingers into the bowl.
- Set the pomegranate aside. We don’t want to mix them with the rest of the fruit as yet as the pomegranate stains.
- Remove the stems off the strawberries. Cut them into small cubes and place them in a medium size bowl.
- Cut off the ends of the green kiwi fruit and peel them. Cut them into small cubes and add them to the strawberries.
- Cut the green grapes in half or thirds, depending on how big they are. Add them to the bowl of strawberries and kiwi fruit.
- Gently mix the strawberries, green kiwi fruit and green grapes and divide into 4 portions.
- Place half a portion of the mixed the strawberries, green kiwi fruit and green grapes in a stemmed glass.
- Add some pomegranate arils on top.
- Add the remaining portion on top and add more pomegranates on top.
- Then add a generous portion of the Persian fairy floss on the top as the show piece of the fruit salad.
- Serve immediately as the fairy floss will start to get soggy.
- If you’re not able to source Persian fairy floss, any fairy floss would make a good replacement. It won’t quite have the same effect, especially if you’re draping it down the side of the glass but it will still be super fun!
- Any red and green fruit will do for this Christmas fruit salad. Just ensure that they have a good balance of flavours. I do however think the pomegranate is essential for a crunch element and because they are simply so good!
- The fruits can all be prepared earlier so you can free up some time when you’re getting other dishes ready. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving time so the fruit has time to come to room temperature. Then just top it with the fairy floss.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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