Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easier than it looks: Chocolate and Berry Tamales!

Sweet Tamales
It seems like forever since the last summer’s farmer’s market!

I’m in serious withdrawal.

Whenever my husband Dan and I discuss the upcoming season, the conversation veers from ‘Are these tablecloths too far gone?’  To “What’s the first thing you’re going to eat?”

For him, a Stony Pond Farm’s burger with an over-easy egg will be ‘first’ breakfast.

My thoughts went to gluten-free tamales, but all hopes faded, because there aren’t any.

The market’s Tamale Girl, Monica Mead, now lives half a world away.

The wildly swinging temperatures this spring reminded me of the pink-colored sweet tamales she sold, and I had strawberries, blueberries and cranberries in the freezer.  

Could I really make them?

There’s no harm in trying…

It took me longer than I’ll admit to just to work up a chicken tamale recipe - and some of those were so bad that my taste-tester/husband refused to sample any more.

Party Pooper!

As they steamed, the house filled with the heady fragrance of berries and chocolate truffles.

These were fluffy, moist, and filled my heart and belly with the promise of a bountiful summer. 
Sweet Tamale
Very Berry Tamales
Makes 12-14


1 Cup Masa Harina (Masarepa, or Maseca)
½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1 Egg White
2 TB Honey or Maple Syrup
2/3 Cup Fruit Puree (Blueberries, Strawberries, Cranberries)
½ to ¾ Cup Whole Milk

2 TB Unsalted Butter, room temperature


¼ to ½ Cup Black Raspberry Jelly
½ to ¾ Cup Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips
¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

12-14 Dried Corn Husks softened in hot water.

Additional equipment:

Steamer; or a pot of boiling water, a colander, and aluminum foil.


In a stand mixer, cream butter until light.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients with a whisk.

Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl.

Alternate adding ¼ cup of dry, then wet ingredients to butter - beating well after each addition.
First Stage of Batter
When batter is the consistency of stiff cookie dough, beat for 1-2 minutes, reserving any extra liquid.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Batter Ready for Tamales
Beat in reserved liquid until a thick batter forms.  (Use more milk if necessary)

Microwave a spoonful and adjust sweetness to your liking
Just Prior to the Fold and Tie
Spread 2 tablespoons of batter on a husk.  Top with 1 tablespoon each of the jelly and chocolate chips

Roll and tie the tamales. (Aluminum foil works as well.)


Steam over Medium-low heat for 1 to 1/12 hours, until batter is set and pulls away from wrapping.
Berry Chocolate Tamale
These are best served immediately, but can be cooled, frozen, and reheated in a steamer or microwave.