Homemade Tamales are a tradition around my little casa bonita. One thing that never fails to amaze me is the fact that people will almost unanimously cheer for regular savory tamales, but are a little stand off-ish at the mention of a sweet tamale. Honestly...it's an amazing little dessert, breakfast, or brunch. Such a sweet change. I make them almost identical in preparation and cooking. The only exception is the masa is sweet and the filling is sweet. There are many variations. Pumpkin is my personal favorite. You will need 6-8 clean dried corn husks, soaked in hot water. I do this soaking step well in advance. If you don't have corn husks, you can use an 8 inch square of parchment paper! It will work just as well. Parchment doesn't need to be tied, just rolled tightly, allowing the seam of the roll to be on the bottom and the edges to be folded under, again with the seams on the bottom.
Chef Tess' Pumpkin sweet tamales (yield 6-8 medium tamales)
For my tamale dough:
1 cup of Maseca for tamales
1 cup warm pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, I prefer fresh)
1/3 cup apple juice
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2tsp ground Wise Woman of The East Spice Blend (pumpkin pie spice will work)
1 tsp vanilla
To make the dough:
Combine Maseca, baking powder, salt, and spice in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, apple juice and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Add pieces of the butter and whip well. Continue adding butter until it is all combined and smooth.
It should be spongy. Not soupy.
Take out the corn husks from the water, lay flat. Put about 1/2 cup masa dough in the middle of the corn husk and spread it out in a 2 inch circle.
6-8 3 inch by 1/2 inch chunks of high quality chocolate (I prefer Guitard)
Fill and roll the same way as we did with the Homemade Tamales. Steam under a clean damp washcloth in a covered tamale steamer or steam insert. It takes about an hour.
Once tamales have cooked, remove from the corn husk, place on a plate and drizzle with chocolate sauce, carmel sauce, or maple syrup. Tara's filling for pumpkin whoopie pies warmed a few seconds and then drizzled over the top might make you cry. In a good way.