04 February 2015

Small Batch Sweet Tamales

I finally was able to work on tamales again and made 5 different kinds on Candelaria.  I experimented with baking some, cooking others in the crockpot, and just steaming the rest the regular way.

For the sweet tamales I did Mexican chocolate and pecan like last time.  This recipe made 12 tamales, 6 of each.  I cooked them in the crockpot and it worked out well.  It took longer, obviously (3 1/2 hours rather than 1+ hour), but I didn't have to keep track of them or make sure the water wasn't boiling away.  I'll definitely do it again.

12 corn husks, soaked, rinsed, and patted dry

1/3 kilo (3/4 lb) fresh masa
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk, depending on your masa

Pecans or other nuts
1 chocolate tablet, chopped or bashed with a rolling pin

If you're going to do the crockpot, get it ready first.  Put a steamer in the bottom, or poke holes in the bottom of a pie plate and shape it so it fits in your crockpot.  If you use a pie plate, you'll need to set it on top of something (like a teacup, maybe) so there's room for water underneath.  Pour in boiling water till it's just below the level of the plate or steamer, then turn the crockpot to high and cover while you get the tamales ready.

Combine the masa, salt, sugar, and 1/4 cup of coconut milk, or a little more to get to a spackle consistency.  If you add too much, don't worry.  I do that too and it works fine with something that's more like thick batter.  Beat for at least 5 minutes till the dough is light.

Spread the 12 corn husks out on the counter with the non-ridged side up (the masa will stick to the ridged side if it touches that).  Divide the dough between the corn husks and spread it evenly on the top half (the wider part) of each one.  Don't quite go to the edges, but you can get within half an inch.

For the pecan ones, sprinkle a little sugar down the middle of 6 of the tamales, then top with chopped nuts- about 5 per tamale.  For the chocolate ones, divide the chocolate among the 6 tamales.

Fold the edges of the tamales together to create a roll, then fold up the bottom half where there wasn't any dough and place them in the crockpot, open side up, to cook for 3.5-4 hours.  Don't peek for at least three hours.  You'll know they're done when you pull one out and open it and the masa doesn't stick to the husk- the tamale will just roll out (unless the filling oozed a bit- that'll always stick).

If you want to steam them, it'll take about an hour and 15 minutes, or maybe longer.  Check them as above.

It should take about 15 minutes to put these together so they're an easy option if you have time to steam them.

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