Recipe Detail

Blueberry Dessert Tamales

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  1. 1/2 pounds - frozen banana leaves thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
  2. 3/4 cups - butter
  3. 2 cups - granulated sugar
  4. 1 tablespoons - ground cinnamon
  5. 3 cups - fresh blueberries
  6. 1/2 cups - golden raisins
  7. 4 cups - Maseca instant corn masa flour
  8. 2 tablespoons - baking powder
  9. 3 cups - warm water plus more as needed
  10. - Whipped heavy cream lightly sweetened with sugar, or vanilla ice cream, for serving


1. Turn on broiler. Cut away stems and thick edges of banana leaves, then cut into about 20 (8-by-10-inch) rectangles.

2. Make berry mixture: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt ¼ cup butter, then stir in 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, blueberries and raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until ingredients have melded but berries still hold some of their shape, 8-10 minutes. Set berry mixture aside and let cool.

3. Make masa dough: In a large bowl, thoroughly blend masa flour, baking powder and remaining sugar with a wooden spoon. Melt remaining butter and add to mixture along with 3 cups water. Knead with your hands to make a soft dough, adding a little more water if it feels too stiff. Add berry mixture and knead into dough.

4. Assemble tamales: Using tongs, hold one banana leaf rectangle directly over an open flame or hot burner for about 10 seconds on each side or until it turns bright green. (Don't let leaf heat any longer or it will become brittle.) Place leaf, smooth side up, on work surface. Place a generous ⅓ cup of dough in center of each leaf and flatten to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Repeat with remaining banana leaves and filling.

5. To fold tamales, fold the long sides of the leaf to enclose dough, overlapping edges to make a snug package. Then fold the ends over on the seam side and rest the tamale on top of the folded ends so that its weight holds the package together.

6. Cook tamales: Set a steamer basket in a large, lidded pot and fill bottom of pot with just enough water to come nearly to bottom of steamer without touching it. Line bottom of basket with leftover banana leaves. Arrange tamales horizontally in basket in layers. Cover pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let tamales rest 5 minutes. To serve, set tamale packets on plates, unwrap and top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.


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