Mexican Month: Sweet Tamales

Strawberry jam filled tamales, with clotted cream and even more jam on top

A tamale is a sign of promise, a corn husk wrapped promise. They look like the original packaged food. Peel back the husk and check out what treat waits within. You pray for a lard enriched corn wonder dough. Although it can turn out to be a steaming pile of bland stodge. Air pressure and humidity mess with it at every stage, but carry on and you will at least end up with something edible. Is a three hour(my average) production process worth it? It can be when you get it right. It requires patience and concentration to make these guys. Some places in London serve them, but the taste of re-heated tamales does not beat that initial batch that comes out of the steamer; the face full of searing hot water vapour, the too hot to handle tamale burning your digits as you excitedly try to get to the good stuff.

The concentration of the damp, earthy corn atmosphere which the husk gives off, assaults your olfactory senses.
An imprint left on the dough by the same husk, transfers texture into a visual cue and the initial bite creates sensory closure to a corn fed fantasy. If the filling can hold its own, then your following bites  will keep the charm offensive going. I decided to make sweet tamales this time. The recipe pretty much stays the same but you add in a cup of sugar, to sweeten the mix. For the filling, I made a quick strawberry jam. What goes better with strawberries than cream? Even better is Cornish clotted cream, which is a sticky little number that grabs hold of your dessert, rather than slopping all over it.

Let me know if you fancy having a go and I’ll send you a recipe“G.N.”


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Categories: Dishes, Mexican


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