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8 large or 16 small tamales

  • 8 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 ¾ cups masa harina, Cumin
  • 1 ¼ cup very hot water
  • 10 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup cold chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large banana leaves, about 12 inches by 36 inches
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place corn in the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 minutes, until smooth.
  3. Transfer corn to a baking pan and bake for 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until mixture is dry. Remove from oven and refrigerate until cooled completely.
  4. In an electric mixer, using paddle attachment, combine masa harina and cumin.
  5. Slowly, on low speed, add the water in a constant stream until dough forms a ball.  Continue to mix on high speed for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and refrigerate until cooled completely, about 1 to 2 hours.
  6. In a clean bowl, whip masa for 5 minutes on high speed. Slowly add shortening in 2 tablespoon additions. Whip until smooth and light, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, reduce to low speed and continue to beat.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, combine salt, baking powder, and chicken stock. Slowly, in a constant stream, add stock mixture to masa. Combine thoroughly. Whip on high speed for 5 minutes.
  8. Add cooled corn and maple syrup and season with salt to taste.
  9. Soften banana leaves over an open flame for 10 seconds on each side, being careful not to burn them. Cut each leaf crosswise into 4 even pieces, about 8 inches by 10 inches, and lay out on a flat work surface.
  10. Divide masa into 8 even portions and place in center of each leaf. Spread into a 4-inch square, leaving at least a 1½ inch border at the ends and ¾ inch on sides.
  11. To fold tamales, pick up the 2 long sides of the banana leaf and bring together (dough will surround the filling.)  Tuck one side under the other and fold the flaps on each end underneath.
  12. Fill the bottom of a steamer or saucepan fitted with a strainer or vegetable basket with at least 2 or 3 inches of water. Bring water to a boil and place tamales in steamer. Cover tightly with a lid or foil (it is important that little or no steam escapes). Steam tamales for 45 to 50 minutes over lightly boiling water, adding more water as needed. Tamales are done when they feel firm to the touch (but not hard) and dough comes away easily from the leaves.
  • from Chef Stephan Pyles of Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas, Texas

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