If you are lucky, you may find yourself in the same place as a tall, slender guapo – a good looking guy – with a basket over his arm. His basket contains the product of his wife’s kitchen – those delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, uniquely Sonoran sweet pastries known as coyotas.
Not really similar to any other sort of pastry, coyotas are really very simple, according to Señora Lupita Parra de la Rosa, wife of the man with the basket, Jorge Abel Zazueta Lucenilla. Sra. Parra de la Rosa says that two flour tortillas made of sweetened dough are pinched together all the way around the edges, sealing between them a sweet filling. Simple they may be, but easy they are not! Only the very best quality ingredients should be used, and the ingredients must be adjusted for the weather – more flour on humid days, less on dry windy days – as must the baking time and temperature. The fillings, either piloncillo, that lovely dark barely refined sugar that is sold in the produce department of grocery stores, or cajeta, the thick caramel cream made from goat milk, must be of the finest quality, perfect texture and used in just the right amounts to keep from oozing from between the layers and burning the crusts. The perfect coyota is golden brown, with the edges sealed all the way around, the filling contained between the two layers in an even thin layer that can barely be seen. It is a bit of heaven to eat – the crust melts in your mouth, and it is just sweet enough to enjoy without being overwhelmed. You can definitely eat more than one!
Señora Parra de la Rosa has been making coyotas all her life – she learned to make them at her mother’s knee growing up in Ciudad Obregon. Her mother learned by trial and error to make coyotas after tasting the originals made by Doña María some 70 or more years ago in Hermosillo, the capital of the State of Sonora. Made nowhere else in México, coyotas are known as uniquely Sonoran, and people from other parts of the country love to buy them and take them home as gifts. A cup of coffee, topped with a fresh coyota, called Café Tapada (coffee with a lid) is a great way to start the day, or to finish a lovely dinner.
Señora Parra de la Rosa and her helper make about 250 coyotas daily, and Señor Zazueta sells them all over town. He has a route that he covers weekly, and will make special deliveries upon request. The coyotas cost $10 pesos each. Also available are coricos, little cookie circles made from ground corn. They are light and sweet, come in packages of 6, and are also made by Señora Lupita. I like to buy some of each – the coricos can be shared, but it’s hard to share a coyota! Call Señor Zazueta at (044-638)106-0277 or (044-638)380-5467 (both are Mexican cell phone numbers) to arrange for a delivery, or a special order, of coyotas. You may need the help of someone who speaks Spanish to place your order, but it is well worth the extra effort!