Coyota is a cake made of wheat dough with a circular shape of fifteen centimeters in diameter; it has two layers that leave a cavity or hollow space between them. The lower layer is covered with a sugar or honey solution. It is a kind of modern empanada with a pleasant taste. The idiom alludes to the woman called coyota, the daughter of an indigenous and a Spaniard.
This one was dark and generally graceful. The word insinuates a hybrid product; not very exquisite baked fruit, compared to the delicate and tasty buns and sponge cakes or doughnuts of the colonial confectionery. For the same reason in Colombia, the acemita has been called mestiza, according to Horacio Sobarzo, Vocabulario sonorense)
Who created the coyotas?
We go back to the 1950s in Villa de Seris, a neighborhood located in the center of the city of Hermosillo, Sonora. It is a traditional area founded more than 270 years ago, where several culinary traditions that identify the people of Sonora, such as coyotas, are born and preserved.
In this charming town lived Doña Maria Ochoa Gonzalez, who enjoyed baking very much. She baked for her family, as well as for her friends. Most of them were Mexican, Agustina de Araiza was Spanish and was the one who gave Doña Maria the recipe, which marked her life and that of Villa de Seris. The name was given to the dessert, "Coyota", which means daughter of indigenous and Spanish, since Villa de Seris was an indigenous settlement of the same name on the banks of the Sonora River, and Spanish, because of the origin of Agustina and the recipe.
The Spanish coyota was more like a tortilla made with the ingredients: flour, lard, salt, and sugar. Doña María added her touch, filling them with a cane (piloncillo), and that is how the combination of the recipe and the tradition in 1954 came from her hands. Today, they use flour made in the region, natural ingredients (jamoncillo, cajeta with walnuts, apple, guava, among others), hand-kneaded, rolled out, and baked in a wood-fired oven.
In Hermosillo it can be found in Doña María's house, as well as in that of her brother-in-law, Alfonso Durazno, who started offering his dessert in his restaurant "Xochimilco", also located in the same city. Tourists can enjoy an exquisite carne asada (roast beef), another typical dish of the region, followed by a famous baked dessert: coyota.
This famous Sonoran dessert, as we have seen, not only stayed in the town of Villa de Seris, but has spread to other cities in Sonora and all of Mexico, and is even exported to the United States and other parts of the world.
All thanks to the beloved Doña Maria and her good Spanish friend. Doña María passed away in 2003, at the age of 86, however, the legacy of coyotas continues thanks to her daughter Catalina Moreno Ochoa, who continues to promote and spread this culinary tradition, which touches our bellies and hearts through her recipe with its sweet and exquisite aroma and flavor.
1 kg of flour
½ kg of lard
6 panochas (a coarse Mexican sugar)
2 tablespoons of prepared baker's yeast
5 tablespoons of flour for the sugar crumbs
1/4 liter of water
Add the lard to the flour. In a quarter of a liter of water dissolve two sugar cubes. The rest of the sugar cubes are cracked and mixed with the flour. Grease the molds.
The flour and the lard are mixed, the yeast is added and the quarter-liter of water with the coarse sugar pieces; if required, more water is added. Knead very well and make small balls of 10 grams, make round tortillas and add a little bit of sugar, cover them with another tortilla, cut them with a small pie mold along the edge, make small holes in the top, place them on the baking sheets and bake them until they are golden brown at 350 degrees C.
Sources: Travesias No.1 by Paola Nallely Valenzuela Barraza. Recipe from Sonora's cuisine by Ernesto Camou Healy and Alicia Hinojosa. Visita Obregon government website.