Sweet tamales

January 6th, 2010 by Dawn

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an unstoppable sweet tooth. I never say no to a good dessert. So, a year ago when we held our first tamalada and I consulted my co-worker Janete about what I should make, I was intrigued and excited to hear about dessert tamales. I’ve had plenty of chicken, pork, cheese, and other savory tamales, but sweet tamales were news to me. I adapted a recipe from one I found online, and they ended up being my favorite tamales of the night.

So for our second tamalada last week, I came armed and ready with the ingredients for more sweet tamales. After we finished wrapping the savory tamales for dinner (spicy mushroom, chorizo, Mexican collard greens, duck confit with salsa verde, roasted poblano with queso fresco, and smoky pheasant), we set them to steam and got to work on dessert, with our orange margaritas in hand.

La tamalada

Sweet tamales are made using the same method as savory tamales, by spreading the masa batter across a corn husk or banana leaf, adding the filling, and then closing the husk or leaf and tying it shut. See our post from last year for the savory recipe. The difference is that sweet tamal masa is made without the savory components like chicken stock, and instead, a sweet liquid like juice, or in my case coconut milk, is used to moisten the batter. With some sugar, cinnamon, and butter, you have the perfect vehicle for some rum-soaked raisins in the middle, and a sweet ending to a tamalada.

Sweet Tamales
Makes about 18 tamales

Corn husks
½ cup rum
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup golden raisins
5 ounces shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1 pound fresh masa
¾ cup coconut milk
½ cup butter, softened

Soak the corn husks in very hot water for a hour or so, until pliable. Drain.

Put the rum and both kinds of raisins into a small saucepan. Heat just until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

With a stand mixer, beat the shortening, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until light in texture, about one minute. Add the sugar and half the masa, and beat for 3 minutes. Add the last half of the masa, and beat for 3 minutes. Reduce speed, add the coconut milk, and then beat for another 4 minutes. Add the butter, and beat for 4 more minutes.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the masa batter into the center of a corn husk, and spread it with the back of the spoon. Add about a teaspoon of raisins in the middle. Fold in the sides, fold up the bottom of the husk, and tie.

Steam the tamales over simmering water until they are cooked through and easily pull away from the husk when opened, about 1½ hours. Enjoy!

2 Responses to “Sweet tamales”

  1. Lorna says:

    Oh, what an intriguing idea!

  2. Lael Hazan says:

    The timing of your blog couldn’t have been more perfect! Our six year old daughter found the baby in the Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Sweet Bread); therefore, we need to make the party in February. A sweet tamale will make everyone happy!

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