Aside from flan, sweet tamales are probably the most satisfying of Mexican
desserts. The flavor varieties for sweet tamales are endless. This pineapple and
raisin tamale is one of our favorites. They go great with morning coffee!
40 to 50 dried corn husks
3/4 cup firmly packed crushed piloncillo or brown sugar
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening (at room temperature)
1/4 cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Masa Harina
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup warm water
1/3 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
2 cups crema or sour cream
Place corn husks in large pot; add very hot water to cover. Top husks with plate
and heavy jar to keep submerged. Let stand at least 3 hours or overnight.
Drain corn husks; rinse and rub each husk under running water to remove any silk
and debris. Drain well; pat dry. Wrap in towel to keep pliable.
Combine piloncillo, lard and butter in large mixer bowl; beat until light and
fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix Masa Harina, 1/4 cup at a
time; beat until thoroughly blended. Gradually beat in warm water, using just as
much as is needed to form dough that just holds together. Stir in coconut, if using, and raisins.
For each tamale, spread rounded tablespoon dough in center of 1 corn husk to
form 3-inch square; top with 4 to 6 pineapple pieces. Fold tamales.
Line large steamer basket with remaining corn husks. Stack tamales in basket,
seam sides down. Cover tamales with kitchen towel. Place steamer basket over 3 to
4 inches boiling water; cover with lid. Adjust heat to maintain gentle boil. Steam
tamales about 40 minutes.
Remove 1 tamale from center of basket and carefully unwrap; if dough pulls easily
away from husk, it is done. If necessary, steam 5 or 10 minutes longer and test