Sweet Tamales from the Central Region of México

The dessert for my cooking class featuring the food of Central Mexico was Tamales de Dulce  (sweet tamales). Sweet tamales are usually only made up for festive occasions such Candlemas (February 2, the midpoint of winter) or First Communion.

According to our instructor, Chef Rossana, the name of these treats come from the indigenous word ‘tamalli‘ meaning wrapped. In this class we used corn husks for wrappings, but they can also be made of banana or avocado leaves, or ‘hoja santa‘ (holy leaf).

We started the class by prepping the dough for tamales de dulce (sweet tamales), as they had the longest cooking time. Although I knew about savory tamales, the sweet versions were a delightful surprise. A gooey mixture of masa (corn dough), butter, sugar, pink food colouring known as ‘rosa mexicana‘, cinnamon-infused water, baking powder and raisins were steamed inside corn husks, resulting in a delicately sweet dessert.
the sweet tamale 1. Soak corn husks for an hour – our instructor Chef Rossana had done this ahead of time.
soak the corn husks for about an hour 2. Make cinnamon-infused water by boiling a few broken cinnamon sticks in 250ml water. The longer it stays in the water, the more cinnamon flavour, so this was also done ahead of time…cinnamon-infused water 3. Make masa dough.

Chef Rosanna demonstrates how to prepare the masa

Chef Rosanna demonstrates how to prepare the masa

4. Mix creamed butter, sugar and baking powder.

creamed butter, sugar and baking powder

5. Gradually add in masa dough, cinnamon-infused water, and a toothpick of the pink food colouring known as ‘rosa mexicana‘ until you have a smooth paste.

the tamale dough with rosa mexicana

the tamale dough with rosa mexicana added

6. Put the pink paste along with a few raisins in the corn husk and wrap.

add raisins to the sweet tamale dough

add raisins to the sweet tamale dough

7. Layer a large pot with corn husks and add an inch or two of water. Bring it to a boil, take off the stove and pack the wrapped tamales into the pot. Put it back on the stove to steam for at least an hour.

pack the wrapped tamales into the pot

pack the wrapped tamales into the pot

8. A sweet tamal waiting to be unwrapped.
a sweet tamale waiting to be unwrapped 9. An unwrapped sweet tamale, ¡delicioso!
the sweet tamaleChef Rossana is on Twitter at: Rossana Ascencio@MiMetate

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8 responses to “Sweet Tamales from the Central Region of México

  1. Pingback: Tamales Carnarios, sweet yellow tamales | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  2. Pingback: Menu from the Central Region of Mexico | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

  3. Hello,

    I am a Mexican currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I belong to a non profit asociation called International Neighbors. We have this monthly newsletter and I wrote an article about tamales. I would like to ilustrate my article with one of your sweet tamales photographs, and give the correpspondant credits. 31st of March is deadline for the article. If possible, could you send me an answer before that date.

    Best regards,
    Herlinda Contreras Maya

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