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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tamal de Fresa (Strawberry Tamales) {she made, ella hace}

Tamales.  I like 'em.  I like eating them.  Sometimes I even like making them.  I'll usually go for a pork bathed in red chile sauce or pulled chicken in a salsa verde.  Toast 'em up on the comal and add a shmear of crema.  Doesn't get much better than that.  So, when Leslie and I decided that we were going to talk about tamales for this month's edition of she made, ella hace, I decided I wanted to change things up a bit.  Go sweet.  

I don't usually...okay ever...make sweet tamales because hubby always seems less than enthused when I mention them.  He's not much for the ones with raisins and nuts in them.  So, I decided to make a small batch and put him to the test.  All hot air?  My guess was yes.  I was seconds away from making a bright green lime version, but at the last minute I went with strawberry.  That's just what I was feeling that day.  Ah, who am I kidding.  Hubby loves strawberry anything.  That had something to do with it.
I was on the look-out for some pink masa...or some blue masa...but short of grinding my own, there was none to be found.  I would have loved to find some pink- can you imagine the glorious color when you peel back the corn husks?  I can.  And even though I knew it would turn my strawberry tamales purple, I decided on using blue masa.  Well.  Sort of.  I had blue cornmeal and I poured it into the blender and ground it up as fine as I could get it.  Then I went half and half with white masa.  And purple was indeed what I wound up with.

They were good...but they weren't my favorite.  And it wasn't the color.  I don't know what it was really.  I'm trying a lime version next time.  Oh, as for my prediction.  Hubby being all hot air and such.  Do I know him or what?  He ate them all minus the couple I ate.  He took them to work and shared them.  He gave me (what I consider to be) the ultimate compliment.  After his first bite, he said "I'm back in Mexico".  

So really, it's all a matter of personal tastes.  What are your feelings on sweet tamales?
Tamal de Fresa (Strawberry Tamales)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1½ hours
Keywords: steam snack dessert vegetarian masa strawberries Christmas Dia de los Muertos Mexican

Ingredients (~2 dozen)
  • 30+ dried cornhusks
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz. (1 c.) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ c. vegetable shortening
  • 1 c. superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. masa harina (white, blue, pink or a mixture)
  • 1¼ c. whole milk, at room temperature
Rinse cornhusks under cold water. Place them in a deep dish or bowl and cover with boiling water and put a plate or something else on top to keep them submerged. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or until soft.

Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the stems and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher, but leave them a bit chunky. Stir in vanilla and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine butter, shortening, sugar, and baking powder. Mix with paddle attachment until very creamy. Add masa harina and mix well (it should look like coarse meal). Continue to mix, adding a bit of the milk and alternating with the mashed strawberries until fully combined.

Drain the cornhusks and scoop about ¼ cup of the batter in each husk, spreading it around with your fingers or the back of a spoon, leaving at least an inch all the way around and a little bit more on the long sides. Fold one of the long sides toward the center, and then fold the other long side on top. Tuck the exposed sides underneath and tie with a thin strip of husk. If your husks seem too small, overlap two of them to make a large wrapper.

Fill a steamer pot with enough hot water to almost touch the steam tray. Cover bottom of tray with leftover cornhusks and arrange tamales vertically, standing them open-side up so that they rest against one another. Cover with any remaining leaves or scraps. Put on the lid and cook over medium heat until the tamales slide out of the wrappers, ~1-1½ hours. Add more boiling water to the bottom of the pot as needed (you don't want it to all evaporate).

Serve warm. The tamales can be cooled and stored in freezer, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.
slightly adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson
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I almost went savory and shared these Tamales Verde with you today.  Really, they're pretty basic.  Cooked, shredded chicken thighs tossed in a charred salsa verde, wrapped in masa, rolled and steamed.  Serve 'em with extra salsa verde and you're good to go!  Tamales for dinner and dessert.

And honestly, can you ever really have too many tamales?  I think not.  On that note, why not head on over and visit Leslie.  She made some tamales de puerco I know you'll want to add to your plate!
What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
She Made, Ella Hace Banner- and
I am sharing this post with:
crazy sweet tuesday sweet treats thursday SweetToothFriday sweets for a saturday Miz- Helen-Badge-ALT5 foodfriday

Would you like to comment?

  1. Delightful, I've never even THOUGHT of a sweet tamale!!

  2. This is definitely new to me - I don't even know what 
    tamale is
    I really love learning of new dishes/food from you

  3. Interesting combination! Great photos!

  4. These are beautiful! Definitely unique.

  5. Hmm, I too would normally go for a spicy savory tamale, but somehow I like this strawberry version ... could see it for breakfast with a mug of hot cocoa!

  6. "I'm back in Mexico" says it all right there, doesn't it?  What a great compliment.
    I've never had sweet tamales.  Have always wanted to make tamales--my grandpa made them often, but I've been too intimidated by the process.

  7. Wow wat an excellent dish.

  8. Natashya Kitchen PuppiesFebruary 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Don't let me go through 2012 without trying my hand at tamales! I love that you can get different colours of masa there. Who knew? Love the strawbs, but I am with you - savoury still has my heart. ♥

  9.  Wow..You have made it perfectly..Totally YUMMY...Love it..Bookmarked..

  10. Una receta muy exótica para mí, totalmente desconocida.


  11. I truly admire that you and Leslie showcase your recipes
    together. And to make tamales – it’s a virtual tamalada. I LOVE it!

    These strawberry tamales sound fantastic! I prefer
    savory/spicy tamales but will never forget the sweet tamales our grandma made
    for us when we were kids. She made them with raisins that were cooked in piloncillo
    and cinnamon. They were amazing sweet little gifts.

    I’m very impressed with your post and your photos as always.

    Besos y abrazos from Colorado!

  12. Thanks Yvette :) ...and funny you should mention "virtual tamalada"...I've ALWAYS wanted to hold an event like that (just haven't gotten around to it yet).  I love the sound of your abuela's sweet had me at piloncillo...

  13. Whoah! I've never tried a sweet tamale.  This I've gotta try!

  14. I love sweet tamales!  My suegra makes the most amazing sweet corn tamales. And my grandmother used to make sweet tamales very much like the ones Yvette described with cinnamon, piloncillo and raisins.  So yummy!

    I haven't had tamales de fresa yet, but yours look so good that I'm going to have to try them soon!  What kind of cream did you serve these with?  

    As always, it was a joy and pleasure to cook with you, amiga! 

  15. I just whipped some heavy cream...and left out the sugar...mixed with a hit of crema.  It's cool against the warm tamale and it mellows the sweet nicely.  I also diced up some strawberries and tossed them pasilla chile powder.  I think I'll try a guajillo strawberry sauce next time.  And yes, always a pleasure xo =)

  16. Wow, I've never imagined such a thing...but it sounds DELISH!!! Especially topped with berries and cream~

  17. I've never tried sweet tamales, but you make a good case for them!

  18. Well I've never HAD a sweet tamale but my gut instinct answer is that I'd adore them.  Strawberry, lime, any, all. Hand em over.

  19. Dear Heather, This is just making my imagination go into overdrive!!! I would love this!! Just delightful!. Blessings my friend, Catherine xo

  20. These are just beautiful! I have never tasted any kind of tamales' now I would love a bite.

  21. How creative.  They look delicious. Come visit. We have some great recipes this week. 

  22. Hi Heather,
    As a Tamale maker I really appreciate the labor of love that goes into the Tamale. I really liked how you colored your Masa, it is a pretty color, maybe not the one you wanted , but pretty. I would love the Strawberry Tamale and I now will be on the lookout for your Lime Tamale. Great recipe and presentation!  Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  23. i have heard of tamales, but haven't actually tasted them, yet. the process is more or less a bit like some of our snacks (usually it's a bit sweet) that you'd see during fiestas. :)

    thank you so much for sharing over at Food Friday, Heather

  24. I have never even THOUGHT about a dessert tamale until now.  I also LOVE the idea of doing a batch with chicken and a fire roasted chile verde, I've always just done pork with red sauce.  You've really opened up my options here!

  25. Que ricos Tamales!
    Just right for an evening with atole. You have such a great imagination in the kitchen Heather. Nowadays, people make all kind of flavors.

    Are you enjoying the mild weather this year?


  26. I really am, Mely!  I just hope it holds out.  As far as I'm concerned, it's too late for it to snow anymore.  The kids disagree, but...

  27. I'm back in Mexico!! awesome. great idea to use blue corn. they look amazing! I almost made these last year, but went with blackberries instead.  We loved them, but I never shot any pictures. I would post so much more if I took the time to just take pics(smile). A virtual this!  

  28. I love that you added chopped strawberries after cooking! Can butter be used instead of shortening?

    Malice in Dunderland

  29. I'm not sure. The shortening works to keep it tender while the butter adds the flavor - that's why I like a combo (same idea w/ pie crust). By all means, try it, though! =)