Make Tamales Movie (click here)
Tamales aren't tacos. I know... I know... and I am the Taco Maven, not the Tamale Maven. However, I have a proclivity for festivity and if you can, you must!
I was inspired by Amapola's strawberry Masa and the apparent ease (jajajajaja) of putting a tamale together once the hard part (the masa) was being done for you. It's still tricky, getting just the right amount on the husk, wrapping it up, tying it etc. But it's fun too!
They sold me a 5 lb bag of Masa. I could have asked for less... it's about $1 per lb. I froze some of it. We'll see if it comes back. I was agonizing over the filling. It seemed like a waste to put fresh strawberries in there since they would be all wilty by tamale's end. I decided to use Jam.
I bought a nice jar of the 4 berry jam made by Bonne Maman, that's right, a French company. I thinned it with vanilla, cinnamon and some agave syrup because it wasn't that sweet. My goal was to make a charmingly small tamale because normally I think tamales are too big and too doughy. I tried to use a generous amount of filling but if you use too much it just runs out which might be why most tamales are light on the filling!
I'm pretty happy with the results. You can see a few pictures here. I'm going to serve them with fresh thickened cream (thickened by adding a little fresh lemon juice) and drizzle a little caramel over them. If you got hold of some great strawberries or raspberries you could add a few slices of those too. Also a few crushed sugary pecans as garnish. I also bought a dozen of those adorable Nuez cookies they sell at Amapola. They have a little powdered sugar on top and are made with pecans so they should go together nicely.
Because my tamales were small, they only needed to steam for 20-30 min. I saw a few recipes that said cook for 2 hours! But you can tell when they are done because they firm and fluff up and you can feel it through the corn husk. You don't want them to get too hard because then they will be tough.
Have fun with the garnish and voila!