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Tamales de dulce

Sweet Tamales with Rum Raisins | Makes 16-20 pieces

For tamales

1/2 cup raisins
3 tbsp white rum
3 cups masa harina para tamales 2 tsp baking powder
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup lard ¼
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops red food coloring, optional Corn husks as needed, softened in warm water

The best dessert in our house growing up was a nice, hot tamal de dulce straight out of the tamalera — a Mexican steamer specifically designed to make tamales — and a rich cup of hot chocolate. In this recipe, I included one of my favorite additions, rum soaked raisins. Rum is a popular ingredient in Mexican desserts, and I try to use it in my recipes as much as possible. In this recipe, it gives an extra twist to my mother's memorable tamales de dulce. To make this recipe successfully, I have called for masa harina para tamales (page 248), to give just the right level of sweetness and lard to ensure a fluffy tamal.


For tamales: Place raisins, rum and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over high heat.

Bring to a full boil. Remove immediately from heat. Strain raisins and transfer to a bowl to cool completely before using.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add masa harina para tamales, baking powder, sugar, lard, salt, vanilla and food coloring, if using, into the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to incorporate ingredients. While on medium speed, add 2 cups water in a steady stream. Increase speed to high and mix for 6 minutes. Test readiness of masa according to directions on page 248. Fold in raisins.

Working one at a time, place each corn husk, or two depending on size, in the palm of your hand with the point end facing away from you. Scoop ¼ cup masa onto the center and spread into a rectangle, ¾ inch from the top and ¼ inch from the bottom. Fold in the sides of the husk to the center, enclosing the masa. Fold up the point, forming a small bundle. Secure each bundle by loosely tying a thin strip of husk around the center of the tamal. Place tamales in steamer, covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel then the lid, and cook about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

To serve: Place warm tamales on a platter and accompany with chocolate caliente.