Since my trip to Mexico in 2011, I have been even more eager to learn new and authentic Mexican recipes. Many of my family members in Mexico share the same passion for cooking as I do. They were all so gracious and willing to teach me some great new dishes. And along with some new dishes, I have learned some long time traditions, such as celebrating “El Dia de la Candelaria”. This day represents a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. Many typical Mexican dishes are prepared on February 2nd. One of the most popular to date is sweet tamales.
My cousin, Ismael, in particular took it upon himself to continue sharing tasty recipes that are published in the local newspaper “El Norte”. This tamale recipe was adapted from one of their recent publications. The first time I prepared it, I followed it exactly as printed. But, as soon as I tasted the first tamal, I knew something was missing. Water, liquid! There was none listed in the ingredients and with as many tamales that I have prepared in the past 10 years, that should have been a red flag. Second batch, added water and so much better! The tamal is like a sweet corn bread with hints of pineapple, pecans and warm dulce de leche.
Tamales Dulces de Piña-Sweet Pineapple Tamales
Sweet tamales are just as important as all the savory flavors during holidays and special occasions!
- 1 stick of butter at room temp.
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups warm water or milk
- 1/3 cup pineapple preserves
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple diced
- 15 to 20 corn husk
- 1 cup of cajeta or dulce de leche for garnish slightly warmed
For Pecan Variation
- 1/4-1/3 cup finely crushed pecans
Soak 20 corn husk in really hot water, set aside. They should soak for a few hours.
Whip together the butter and shortening until fluffy and light.Mix in the sugar. In another bowl, combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in the warm water until dough forms.
Mix in the masa to the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the pineapple. If adding in the pecans, add them now. Or leave as is for pineapple only tamal.
Shake off excess water from corn husk and fill them with about 3 tablespoons of pineapple masa filling down the center. Fold over to close and arrange open side up in steamer pot.
Keep a tea kettle or pot of warm water on low in case you need to add more water to the steamer. Add plenty of water and steam for 1 hour or 1 1/2 hours . Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Garnish with dulce de leche or cajeta and pecan pieces.
Tips~ When steaming tamales, set your timer for 30 minutes and add a little more hot water to ensure it will not run out. Start heat on high, then reduce to medium. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.