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Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Mexican Beach Town and a Refreshing Dessert

A Mexican Beach Town and a Refreshing Dessert
by Victoria Challancin

Last week my husband, sister-in-law, and I spent a perfect week in a perfect place:   La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico.  Nestled into the Bay of Tenacatita on the Costalegre (Happy Coast), this small beach town sits at the edge of a lush, steamy tropical jungle, surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountain range.  The small village, which has a population of 2000 inhabitants, boasts a five-mile stretch of beach where whales can sometimes be seen cavorting in the gentle waters, a pleasing climate (averaging 75 degrees and 345 days of sunshine a year), a protected mangrove estuary complete with alligators, thatched palapa buildings, gentle people, and good food.  Need I say more?

 Shimmery mica-flecked sand

 Nearby Malaque

Warm weather, beaches, tropical flora and fauna can't help but remind me of my native state of Florida.  This dessert allows me to mingle those memories in a rich, but light dessert.

Cook's Notes:  In spite of containing 2 1/2 cups of heavy whipped cream, this dessert tasted surprisingly light.  The bright flavors were just perfect after a fairly heavy meal.  We used the small Mexican limes and grated both lime and lemon rind over the top for color.

Key Lime Bars with Macadamia Crust
(Recipe from Southern Living Magazine)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped macadamias
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons Key lime juice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped
Garnish:  grated lime rind

Process flour and next 4 ingredients in a food processor until finely ground.  Press mixture into a greased aluminum foil-lined 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Heat 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lime juice over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, and set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons lime juice in a medium bowl; stir gelatin mixture, and let stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Add hot mixture,stirring until gelatin dissolves.  Whisk in sweetened condensed milk and grated lime rind.

Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice; whisk mixture 10 minutes or until partially set.  Fold in whipped cream.  Pour evenly over prepared crust; cover and chill 8 hours.  Cut into diamond shapes.   Garnish, if desired.

No vacation in Mexico would be complete without a obligatory, totally delightful parade.  Our week was punctuated by four days of the Fiestas Taurinas, which featured music, dancing, free food, and, of course, a parade.  Or two.  Or four.

Parting Video:  Dancing Horse in a Mexican Parade:

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Like life and love, recipes are meant to be shared, but please ask permission before using text or photos.  Thanks!


Joan Nova said...

Your photos are very enticing. I imagine your readers who live in cold climates are weeping as they scroll down.

Love key lime desserts. "Refreshing" is the perfect word.

Eha said...

No wonder you feel so relaxed, beautiful lady! That kind of place :) ! In the middle of a busy day am reminiscing looking at the second photo from the bottom: I spent my honeymoon and many subsequent holidays in Fiji at my husband's grestuncle's home - that was as close to the sea as that photo with a garden fence and gate just as this > beach and wide coral reef. When the tide came in the 'lochas' [high tide wavelets] would quietly lap at or just pass the gate. Pure heaven . . . so undersatnd how you must have felt . . .

Victoria of Flavors of the Sun said...

Joan, how could a Floridian NOT like Key Lime Desserts? I gravitate to them. Will next try the key lime pie from Little Palm Island with the cashew crust!

Victoria of Flavors of the Sun said...

Eha, what an incredibly lovely picture you painted of your holidays in Fiji. Sounds wonderful. That photo was taken from the home of another friend. Our place was fabulous, just fabulous, but about 100 meters from the actual waves. But what a view!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'd love a slice of that cake! :D And those pictures are relaxing even to look at :D

Hotly Spiced said...

What a beautiful place. It looks like paradise. What a lovely destination for a holiday. And key lime bars with macadamias - these sound incredible xx

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What fantastic must have had a wonderful time. Your dessert does remind me of key lime pie and sounds delicious.

Joyti said...

It sounds lovely. Funny, I've never been to Mexico...and I live in California (relatively close).