Italian Fruit Salad

Macedonia di frutta (Italian Fruit Salad)

In dessert by Frank Fariello13 Comments

Macedonia di frutta, or Italian fruit salad, is one of the most typical of summer desserts in Italy, often served with some lemon sorbet. But a macedonia can be made any time of year, with almost any combination of fruits in season.

Ingredients

  • Fresh fruit in season, trimmed, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Sugar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice

NB: This is one recipe where measurements will do more harm than good, so none are given. Just use enough sugar to lightly coat the fruit you are using, and enough lemon juice to melt the sugar and produce a light ‘sauce’. For a medium bowl of fruit, you might try 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and the juice of one medium lemon, as a general rule of thumb. But trust your eyes and your taste buds over anything else! 

Directions

Toss the cut up fruit together with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Taste the combination: if too sweet, add a bit more lemon juice, if too tart, add a bit more sugar, bearing in mind that both tend to mellow after maceration.

Let the fruit macerate for about 30 minutes in the fridge and there you have it! A marvellously refreshing way to end a meal.

Notes

The combination of fruits, as I said, is endlessly variable, but it is pretty typical to include bananas and—especially in the Fall and Winter—apples or pears in an Italian fruit salad. In the summer, stone fruits, especially peaches, are a popular addition. Kiwi is also very popular, any time of year. (By the way, did you know that Italy is now the world’s largest producer of kiwi?)

The sugar and lemon treatment can be used, as well, with single fruits, especially all sorts of berries. It is particularly good (and popular in Italy) to treat fragoline di bosco, or wild strawberries, if you are lucky enough to find some. By the way, you will find that after you leave the salad to macerate for a while, the sugar melts and the sour taste of the lemon juice, by some magical alchemy, is replaced by fruits that taste more intensely of themselves and lovely ‘syrup’. This treatment does wonders for the rather insipid fresh fruit one finds at the supermarket these days. And it sends really good, ripe fruits from the farmers market into celestial orbit!

Most fruits can be prepped ahead of time, but don’t dress the salad until you’re almost ready to eat, especially if you’re using white fruits like bananas, apples or pears, which tend to bruise and discolor if left to macerate too long. The best strategy, I find, is to dress the salad just before serving dinner. By the time that dessert comes around, it should be just ready to serve.

For an extra fillip of flavor, you can add a bit of liquor to your Italian fruit salad before serving. Tonight, in fact, I added a splash of Cointreau to my macedonia. Very nice. If serving the fruit on its own, you can add add white or red wine as well. Red wine goes particularly well with strawberries made this way, and is called fragole al vino rosso.

Macedonia di frutta (Fruit Salad)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Macedonia di frutta (Fruit Salad)

Ingredients

  • Fresh fruit in season, trimmed, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Sugar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

  1. Toss the cut up fruit together with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Taste the combination: if too sweet, add a bit more lemon juice, if too tart, add a bit more sugar, bearing in mind that both tend to mellow after maceration.
  2. Let the fruit macerate for about 30 minutes in the fridge and there you have it!
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Frank FarielloMacedonia di frutta (Italian Fruit Salad)

Comments

  1. Pingback: Pesche al vino rosso (Peaches in Red Wine)

  2. Nuts about food

    Being Sicilian, my mother-in-law adds freshly squeezed orange juice instead of lemon juice. It actually works really well and allows you to reduce the amount of sugar you are using. Another touch of hers that I love is that adds in broken up pieces of walnuts that add some crunch and work wonders with clementines and most winter fruits.

  3. Simona

    You note about kiwi production reminded me that when I was still in Italy and working as a nurse, once we had a patient who talked about the “wiki” he grew. Until then I had no idea kiwis could be grown in Italy.
    Fragoline di bosco, yes! I miss them.

  4. Chiara

    è Il dessert perfetto per ogni occasione, a volte cerchiamo ricette guardando in ogni dove invece basterebbe preparare una buona macedonia per accontentare tutti ! Buona giornata Frank !

  5. Frank

    Vicki,

    I have to admit I never measure when I make macedonia di frutta, but try it with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and the juice of one lemon for a medium bowl of fruit. From there you can adjust according to your taste.

    I can't say I've heard of the grappa and sugar method. Sounds like it would come from northern Italy. If you've tried it, I'd be curious to know how you liked it.

  6. Vicki Bensinger

    I read another recipe for this dish where they used Grappa mixed with sugar and heated just to melt the sugar. Then once cooled, poured over the fruit. The taste is suppose to be similar to lemoncello. Have you ever tried or heard of this method?

  7. Frank

    Well, the story I've heard is that the name comes from a comparison between the mixture of different fruits in this fruit salad with the mixture of different ethnic groups in 19th century Macedonia. Is that the story you know?

  8. Anonymous

    I think I am in love with you. This site is wonderful, I am so glad I found it. Your Angelina is much like my Philomena, boy, I miss her (and her cooking!)Love, Kelly

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