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
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.
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