Sweet Cinnamon Tamal
Photo by Alex Lau, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich
Tamales are traditionally wrapped in individual corn husks and steamed, but baking a single large-format tamal in a foil-covered pan set in a roasting pan of hot water produces a similarly tender texture. The result is a moist, barely sweet cake with pudding vibes. We used Bob’s Red Mill masa harina for this tamal recipe—it has a more pronounced corn flavor than other brands.
- 8 servings
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 1/2 cups masa harina (masa flour), preferably Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
- 4 ears of corn, husked, kernels removed, or 4 cups frozen, thawed
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup raw or demerara sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 2/3 cup crumbled queso fresco, plus more for serving
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat an 8×8" metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk masa, baking powder, salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- Pulse corn kernels in a blender or food processor until very coarsely puréed, just a few seconds should do it.
- Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and raw sugar until pale and slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in corn purée and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in dry ingredients; mix until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape into prepared pan and cover tightly with foil. Set baking pan inside a large roasting pan; pour in boiling water to come halfway up sides of baking pan.
- Bake tamal until top springs back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 75–85 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan before serving.
- Mix crème fraîche and 2/3 cup queso fresco in a small bowl. Scoop tamal onto plates and top with crème fraîche mixture, more queso fresco, and a dusting of cinnamon.
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