Tamal de Limón

Masa, that oh-so-special and unique corn ingredient.  Find out its history, how it is made, and how it is used in episode 4 of Heritage Radio Network‘s Fresh Pickings podcast.  Then try it out for yourself in this Tamal de Limón (lime tamale) recipe courtesy of Fany Gerson from her book My Sweet Mexico (it’s a BRM Test Kitchen favorite!).  Check it out!

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Servings 24 tamales
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 60 - 90 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Submitted By Fany Gerson, author of My Sweet Mexico
Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings 24 tamales
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 60 - 90 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Submitted By Fany Gerson, author of My Sweet Mexico
Share this Recipe
Share this Recipe
Ingredients
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rinse the cornhusks under cold water, place them in a bowl, and cover with boiling water (put a plate on top and weight it with a large can to keep them submerged). Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or until soft.
  2. In a bowl, combine the butter, shortening, and sugar with your hands or in a mixer with the paddle attachment until very creamy. Add the masa and mix well (it’ll look a bit like coarse meal). Combine a few drops of the food coloring with 3 tablespoons of the milk, then add that and the rest of the milk gradually while mixing until incorporated. Stir in the lime zest and salt.
  3. Drain the cornhusks and scoop about ¼ cup of the batter into a husk, spreading it with the back of a spoon and leaving at least 1 inch all around (a little more on the long sides). If the husks are too small or broken, put two together and overlap them. Fold one of the long sides toward the center, and then fold the other long side on top. Tuck the exposed sides underneath; if they are still too small, wrap the tamale in another husk and tie it with a thin strip of husk (this isn’t necessary but is just an extra precaution). Repeat to use up all the batter.
  4. Fill a pot with enough hot water to reach just underneath, but not touching, a steamer (you can use the collapsible kind if you don’t have a special pot). Cover the bottom of the steamer with leftover cornhusks and arrange the tamales vertically, standing them up so they rest against one another. Cover with any remaining leaves or scraps, cover with a lid, and cook over medium heat until the tamales slide out of the wrappers, 1 to 1½ hours. Add more boiling water to the bottom pot as needed to make sure water reaches the bottom of the steamer. Serve warm. The tamales can be stored in the freezer, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.
  5. Testing Tamales: There is a theory that many home cooks firmly believe in. To test whether the dough has been beaten enough and is ready to be put in the husks, put a bit of dough in a glass filled with cold water. If it begins to float, it’s ready and you can be sure that your tamales will be light and fluffy. If it doesn’t, just beat a bit longer.
Recipe Notes

Recipe Reprinted with permission from My Sweet Mexico, by Fany Gerson, copyright © 2010, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2010 by Ed Anderson.

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