November 22, 2013

Tamales de Piña Con Coco (Pineapple and Coconut Tamales)

Originally published in our Fall 2012 issue

Recipe courtesy of Marilyn Tausend

Makes about 26 tamales

The Wrappings

35 soaked and softened corn husks

Prepare the corn husks.

The Tamales

1 ¼ c. rendered pork lard

½ t. sea salt

1 T baking powder

2 lbs. (4 c.) freshly made masa for corn tortillas, or 2 ½ c. masa harina for tortillas

      reconstituted with 2 cups quite warm water

2 c. of ¼ -inch cubed fresh pineapple

1 c. sugar

¾ -inch stick Mexican true cinnamon bark, ground

1 c. toasted, blanched almonds, finely chopped

1 c. shredded fresh coconut or unsweetened dried coconut (if not available, sweetened

     can be substituted)

¼ c. raisins

Using an electric mixer, beat together lard, salt, and baking powder until light and meringuelike, about 5 mins. With large spoon or your hands, gradually mix in fresh masa or reconstituted masa harina alternately with 1 cup lukewarm water until smooth and free of lumps. Continue beating with mixture until it is light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Using your hands, fold in pineapple, sugar, cinnamon, almonds, coconut, and raisins until thoroughly blended.

Pour water to a depth of at least 2 inches into a tamalera or other large pot for steaming tamales. Bring water to a low boil. Drop in a few coins to rattle in bubbling water, their silence signaling the need to add more boiling water to steamer.

Place about 1/3 cup prepared masa in center of a corn husk near the broad end, leaving a wide margin of husk. Fold long edges over to cover filling; bend longer empty part of husk toward opposite end. Repeat to make remaining tamales. You can pull off 2 narrow strands from a corn husk, knot them together, and tie the knotted strand horizontally around each packet.

Place extra pieces of corn husks on steamer rack, and put a small metal funnel or empty can with holes in it in the center of the rack. Layer tamales, propped upright, in concentric circles around funnel or can. Don’t pack too tightly. Cover with more husks and a small, thick kitchen towel. Place steamer rack over bubbling water and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

Steam tamales for 1 hour without opening pot. If you don’t hear coins jingling, you need to add more boiling water. To test for doneness, remove a tamal from pot, let sit a few minutes, then open it. Dough should easily pull away from husk and feel spongy. If not, continue cooking another 15 minutes. Turn off heat, take off cover, let tamales rest for 1 hour, then serve hot. Tamales can be stored tightly covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days, then reheated in steamer for about 20 minutes.

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November 22, 2013