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Tamale Dough Made With Masa Harina Flour

Fresh corn kernels enhance the dough's natural corn flavor. Chopped fresh cilantro adds color and flavor.

3 cups masa harina flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup unsalted softened butter or homemade lard, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups frozen baby corn kernels, thawed (use fresh in summer, cutting kernels from cob and scraping corn "milk" into the mix)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Place the masa harina, salt, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the two fats and beat together for 3 minutes until thoroughly incorporated. Add the broth and beat for 2 minutes longer, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

Perform the float test. Put a 1/2 teaspoon dollop of the dough into a cup of cold water. If it floats, the cooked tamale dough will be tender and light. If it doesn't, beat a little longer. Add the fresh corn and the cilantro and beat for about 1 minute longer, until incorporated.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours refrigerated so the dough can thoroughly absorb the moist ingredients. Beat up to 1/4 cup additional broth or water into the batter to bring the mixture to the consistency it had before. It should hold its shape softly on a spoon but not be runny. Makes about 20 medium tamales.

Adapted from "Tamales" by Mark Miller, Stephan Pyles and John Sedlar

Thursday, January 06, 2000

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