Friday, March 8, 2013

Apple Dessert Tamales

Now that I have conquered the tamale, I want to try to make different kinds.  They really aren't as hard as everyone makes them out to be.  They're just time-consuming.  And they take less time each time you make them, because you get better at it.

I found this recipe online.  For the most part, I liked where it was going, but the quantities of various ingredients looked odd.  Yes, I was basing that on the one time I had made tamales, but that had been such a successful recipe that I felt secure using it as my base model and treating these as simply another flavor in the tamale spectrum.  Mainly, I was concerned that the apple purée would not give the masa enough stability.  I did not want to pull out little corn-husk packets of applesauce.

And you may notice that these are labeled both as breakfast and dessert.  Honestly, don't a lot of desserts fall into the breakfast category as well?  Fruit pies, many pastries, even some cakes end up on the breakfast table.  This is primarily corn and fruit, held together by dairy and seasoned with spices and sugar.  Sounds like a good start to the morning to me.

20-24 corn husks
2 medium-flavored apples, like Fuji, Gala, or Jonagold
1/4 C + 2 Tb butter
*2 tsp cinnamon
*1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C raisins or cranberries
1/2 C brown sugar, lightly packed
*1/4 C cream cheese
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt
2 C masa harina flour
2 C apple juice

1.  Soak husks in warm water for about an hour before starting.  (I put a couple extra on the ingredient list because some inevitably tear.  Tear those into strips and use as ties.)

2.  Peel apples, if desired, and dice into 1/2" cubes.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat with 2 Tb butter until they start to soften and give up their juices.  Add raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 C sugar.  Simmer until soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  In mixer, cream together 1/4 C butter and cream cheese.  Beat in baking powder, salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.  Beat in 1 C masa flour, then 1 C apple juice.  Repeat.  The masa dough will look thin, like cake batter.  Set aside for 10 minutes and it will thicken enough to handle.

4.  Place a clean kitchen towel on the counter.  Set up a lidded pot with about 1" of water and a steamer basket or strainer that fits snugly.

5.  Place one corn husk on the towel, pointy end down.  Spread about 3 Tb of masa batter on the top half of the husk.  Spoon 1 Tb of filling in the middle.  Roll in the sides, fold up the pointy end, and leave open at the top.  Tie with a strip of husk and place in the steamer basket.  Repeat until masa, husks, and filling are used.  (Extra filling tastes great in oatmeal.)

6.  Bring water in pot to a boil.  Place steamer basket in pot and cover.  Reduce heat to just over simmering and steam tamales for an hour.  This gives you enough time to run back to the store for the vanilla ice cream that you forgot you wanted to serve with the tamales.

7.  The tamales will still look gooey after the hour.  Remove the steamer basket and allow them to set for at least 10 minutes before serving.  These are great do-aheads and respond very well to microwaving.

8.  Serve warm (not hot) with ice cream, caramel sauce, or just on their own.

Makes 18

Difficulty rating :-0

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