A summery Mexican dessert.
2 tsp baking soda
12 medium-large limes, rinsed well
2-1/2 cups sugar
Green food colouring (optional)
2 cups shredded fresh coconut
1/2 cup water
Step 1: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat, add 1 tsp of the baking soda, stir to combine, and then add the limes. Cook at a soft simmer until slightly tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove the limes from the water with a slotted spoon and let cool.
Step 2: Make a small incision in the top of each lime with a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape out the flesh, making sure you don’t tear the rind; discard the filling. Return the intact rinds to the pot, add cold water to cover, and stir in the remaining 1 tsp baking soda. Bring to a boil, strain, and repeat this process (without any more baking soda) 3 more times to remove the bitterness from the limes.
Step 3: Return the limes to the pot, add cold water to cover, then stir in 1-1/2 cups of the sugar and a few drops of food colouring. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the syrup has thickened to the consistency of corn or maple syrup, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool completely in the syrup, then transfer the limes to a wire rack and let dry.
Step 4: Combine the coconut, the remaining 1 cup sugar, and the 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the coconut is soft, almost translucent, and thick. Let cool until it is safe to handle.
Step 5: Fill the limes with the coconut mixture and let cool completely. Eat by biting into the lime. Store in an airtight container lined with parchment paper in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
Makes 12 pieces
Reprinted with permission from Fany Gerson's My Sweet Mexico (2010 Ten Speed Press).