Limones Rellenos De Cocada are candied limes filled with sweet shredded coconut.
I just tried this recipe for the first time as I was intrigued when I saw a picture of this candy in a cookbook.
The taste of the Limones Rellenos De Cocada is a little exotic, they have a intense lime flavor but without the tartness limes usually come with, and they are really sweet. They are basically candied lime skins filled with sugary shredded coconut. Not everybody may like them – someone who does enjoy the distinct taste of limes and has a very sweet tooth may like them a lot. They look really pretty and are kind of a special treat you could serve as dessert after a mexican dinner.
It isn't really a laborious recipe, but it takes quite a while to make them as you have to cook and cool down the limes several times. The original recipe says it takes about four to five days, I was much too impatient and made them over the course of two and a half days- they came out just fine.
Btw. I found the recipe in a cookbook dedicated to the Mexican painter Frieda Kahlo. The book doesn't give any background informations to the recipe and doesn't tell about it's origins. But Instructables user artlife explained in the comments: Limones Rellenos De Cocada are common in Vera Cruz and the Yucatan and you can buy them on the street and just bite into them and eat them whole.
He adds: "I make them pretty much the same way, sometimes it takes up to a week to get rid of the bitterness in the limes. I am in western Mexico, and most people around here are not familiar with them. When I make them I share them with my neighbors. The limones rellenos keep in the fridge for quite a while. This is an authentic traditional dulce, and is one of my favorite Mexican sweets.. Typically they cost 10 pesos each from street vendors. The large companies shipping these charge 20-30 pesos each plus shipping."
The original recipe called for 16 limes - as I didn't know if I would like them I started with just 6 limes and changed the recipe for this smaller amount.
To prepare the candied limes you need:
6 limes (I highly recommend using organic limes for this recipe as you are going to eat the skins of the fruits)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
several liters / quarts of water for cooking the limes
2 cups of water (450ml)
1,5 cups (340g) of sugar
For the coconut filling you need:
6 tablespoons of sugar
half a cup of water
about a cup (100 g) of shredded coconut (if you use dried shredded coconut instead of fresh coconut you should add 5 extra tablespoons of water to the mixture)
Step 2: Cook the Limes for the First Time
Wash the limes meticulously, place them in a pot and cover them with water.
Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer on low heat until the limes become slightly soft. (It took my limes about 15 to 20 minutes to become soft)
Transfer the contend of the pot into a bowl and sprinkle it with the baking soda.
Cover the bowl with a plate and let the limes and the water cool over night.
Step 3: Empty the Fruits
The next day drain the limes and discard the water.
Cut a slit into the fruits and scrape out the pulp. (The recipe called to cleanly hollow the fruits - I wasn't sure if I'm supposed to scrape out all the little skins in the fruit or if its enough to just take out the pulp. So I cleaned some limes super meticulously and some only quickly with a spoon. I couldn't recognize any difference in the final products, so I think it's not worth the effort to fight the tiny skins.)
Discard the pulp.
Then put the limes back into the bowl and cover them with fresh boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and a lid or a plate.
Step 4: Hot Baths for the Limes for Several Days...
The next day:
The original recipe says you should once a day discard the water and cover the limes again with boiling fresh water, continue so for the next three or four days until the skins don't taste bitter anymore.
I changed the recipe to changing the water twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. An I continued this only for two days. For me the skins where fine then, they didn't taste bitter to my taste buds...
Let your taste buds decide how long to bath your limes.
Step 5: Sugar Hot Tub
Then heat up the 2 cups of water (450ml) and the 1,5 cups (340g) of sugar and add the limes.
Let them cook on low heat for about half an hour.
Let them cool in the syrup over night.
Step 6: Cook the Coconut
When the limes are cooled down in the syrup you can prepare the coconut filling. Compared to the limes this is made in almost no time:
Heat up 6 tablespoons of sugar with half a cup of water and a cup of shredded coconut (if you use dried coconut like I did, add 5 extra tablespoons of water to the mix)
Once it's heated up let it cook on low heat.
You may stir from time to time.
After a while the coconut becomes a little bit more translucent and the water evaporates.
Now you can shut down the heat and as soon the coconut is cool enough to touch, you can fill the limes with the coconut mixture.
Step 7: Put the Coconut in the Lime...
You are allowed to hum Harry Nilssons "Coconut" song while you assemble the Limones Rellenos De Cocada.
But stay focused and don't mix things up! : )
As soon you've put all the coconut in the limes you may taste your homemade Limones Rellenos De Cocada!
I like to cut them in smaller pieces for serving but I don't know anything about the way they are consumed in Mexico.
I have to confess at the beginning I wasn't too amazed about them. I guess compared to the amount of time I had to wait to eat them, they were just a little bit to sweet for me. But after a few days I really started to like them and in the end, when I had the last piece I wished I've made more...
Btw. I don't know how long you can store them. I had mine in the fridge for the course of about two weeks and they didn't show any signs of aging. I guess the high sugar content preserves them quite well...