After last week’s post about Mexican candy, I finally decided to satisfy my curiosity about how to make Coconut-stuffed limes, or limones rellenos de coco, which are my favorite. After hunting around for a while on the internet, I discovered that everyone who posted a recipe seemed to have copied and pasted from the same place…And I have figured out what that place is! The source for every recipe I found for coconut-stuffed limes is My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson.
Although the recipe is quite good itself, there are a few things which are a bit…ahem…glossed over, which I’m going to go into here. Here are the ingredients:
- 1 bag of key limes (about 24 limes)
- 2 cups of shredded coconut
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2.5 cups of sugar
- green food coloring (optional)
The recipe called for “medium-large limes” but I had only eaten these made with petite key limes, which have a thinner rind. I used twice as many key limes because they were quite small. For the sugar, I used brown because it was all I had. I don’t think that made a difference.The recipe called for “shredded fresh coconut.” Having once hacked open and shredded fresh coconut, it is a process I honestly have no desire to do again. I used unsweetened dried shredded coconut and I think it worked just fine. It gets re-hydrated in syrup in the preparation, and it tasted just fine (!)
Here are the basic instructions:
- Boil two quarts of water. Add one teaspoon of baking soda and then the limes. Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes and drain the limes. Let cool.
- Make a small cut in the lime and scrape out the insides without breaking the rind (!)
- Return the limes to the pot with cold water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Bring to a boil and drain again.
- Boil the limes three more times in plain water.
- Return the limes to the pot with enough cold water to cover them, plus 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the green food coloring. Boil the mixture until the liquid is the consistency of maple syrup.
- Let the limes cool in the syrup. Then, drain them on a rack until dry.
- Combine the coconut with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Heat, stirring often, until the coconut thickens and becomes soft.
- Fill the lime skins with the cooled coconut mixture.
- Eat them!
Here are my additions to the general introductions. Point #1. I thought it would a good time-saving measure to make the coconut candy part while the limes were boiling, this was not a good idea for two reasons: 1) The coconut-sugar mixture will basically stick to the pot Instantly, if you stop stirring, so you can’t really be doing anything else during that time. 2) I would suggest making the coconut mixture once the limes are dried and ready to fill. Why? Because it took over a day for the lime rinds to fully dry. By then, the coconut candy had solidified, making it…tricky…to mold it and stuff the limes.
Point #2. It is difficult to remove the insides of a lime without destroying the rind. There is no real explanation given in the recipe for how to do this. I tried several different techniques. The most successful was to slit the lime, squeeze the juice out, and scrape out as much pulp as possible with a grapefruit spoon. Scissors were also useful.
Point #3. The food coloring is listed as optional. I would not really agree with this. When you boil limes, they change from beautiful lime greento something between puce and pea-soup-color. They do Not Look Appetizing. Initially, I wanted to make them “natural,” without food coloring. However, once I saw the color change, I realized that it wouldn’t matter how delicious they were; no one would ever find out, because no one would eat them looking the way they did pre-food coloring.
Point #4. If like me, you are not a habitual user of food-coloring and find that you need some at 3am, PAAS egg coloring tablets can be used in place of liquid food coloring. I used the one green tablet for 24 limes, and it was not nearly enough. It barely changed the color. So, honestly, I would say, if you are going to make these, get yourself a nice package of those little liquid food colors, and go to town with the green one. The limes will need it.
I think that the limes were not taking the color had two reasons, the small amount of dye, yes, and also possibly wax on the limes. I would have thought that boiling them so many times would remove all the wax, and I did see some float to the surface on the initial boil. I still think there was some left though, because interestingly, the inner pulp of the limes took the color really well, as well as the exposed cut edges, just not the outer rind. (I altered the color levels in the first photo so make it more attractive and more…green.)
However, the best part of this recipe is that even if they don’t come out looking picture-perfect “lime green,” they are still really delicious!