Sweet Coconut Tamales

Sometimes the urge to "make" comes over me. I'm just sitting on the couch, relaxing with Walnut, and all of a sudden, I feel this insane need to make a cake. Or a pie. Or sushi. Or tamales.

Maybe I watch too much food TV. No, I definitely watch too much food TV. I watch too much TV period. It's slowly eating my brain. If I keep this up for like ten more years there will just be a pile of sludge up there.

Tamales are good for late night "make" sessions. They aren't too difficult to put together and then they just steam away and do their own thing.

We like things that do their own thing.

We also like things that don't do their own thing. But that's for another time. Know what I mean?

These are sweet dessert tamales with coconut and raisins. I'm contemplating serving them at my Cuban-Jewish-Spanish family Thanksgiving.

We're a bit of a melting pot, my family and extended family.

It's kind of our thing.

Recipe after la jump...

Coconut Raisin Tamales

Makes about a dozen tamales. Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

  • 24 corn husks (for the 2-husk tamale method)
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 2 tablespoons cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (can use unsweetened coconut and up the sugar by 2 more tbls)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Soak corn husks in large bowl of hot water for 1/2 hour, then separate and continue to soak until pliable, up to 1/2 hour more. Tear one or two husks into 1/4-inch strips to use for tying the tamales (use the longest ones of the bunch).

Boil 1 cup water in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and gradually stir in masa. Cover and let cool.

Combine 1/3 cup water, sugar, small pinch salt, and vanilla bean, if using, in small saucepan. Bring to simmer, simmer for 5 minutes. Take pan off heat and stir in coconut and vanilla flavoring or extract, if using. Cool.

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, cream butter or shortening with baking powder, if using. Add masa and coconut mixtures, and beat until dough is smooth, fluffy, and light.

Arrange steamer rack in very large stockpot and add water to just below bottom of rack. Cover and bring water to boil.

Place drained corn husks on work surface. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons masa dough into center of two husks, laid over one another on the largest width and spoon some raisins on top. Fold long sides over filling, then tie ends of tamale shut with husk strips.

Repeat process to make 12 tamales. Place upright, leaning against one another, in steamer. If necessary, insert pieces of crumpled foil between tamales to keep them upright. Cover and steam until dough is firm to touch and separates easily from husk, adding more water to pot as necessary, about 1 hour.