© David Loftus
sweet tamales 'n' chocolate
At a fantastic out-of-the-way Mexican restaurant called El Metate in Gallup, New Mexico, the very sweet owner, Rebecca, taught me how to make proper Mexican tamales. To see her teaching
me how to make these, go to www.jamieoliver.com/how-to. Tamales can be sweet, like these, or savory. They are basically filled Mexican dumplings – I think they’re brilliant. The corn
husks they’re wrapped in are used throughout Mexico. If you buy corn in season, it often comes in husks, but the dried husks I’m using here work a treat. You can pick them up online or at Whole Foods Market stores. Otherwise, things like parchment or wax paper will also do the trick.
Soak your corn husks in a bowl of warm water or, if you’re using parchment paper, cut yourself 16 pieces about half the size of a page in this book. In a separate bowl, mix the cornmeal, fl our, salt, baking powder, sugar, coconut, and chopped pineapple. Add the lime zest and juice and pour in just over 2⁄3 cup water to bring everything together. Mix well, until you’ve got a thick spoonable paste.
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil – the pan needs to be big enough to fit a colander on top. Take a soaked corn husk or piece of parchment paper and spoon a heaping tablespoon of your pineapple mixture into the middle of the husk or paper; if the husks are thin you might have to layer two on top of each other. Fold the sides in to cover the filling, then twist the ends and use string to tie them so they look like British Christmas crackers.
Lay your prepared tamales in a large colander or steamer, making sure they’re all in one layer and not overlapping. Cover the top of the colander with aluminum foil and seal it nice and tightly. If you don’t have a colander large enough, you can always steam the tamales in 2 batches. Pop the colander on top of your pan of boiling water and steam for about 20 to 25 minutes. About 5 minutes before they’re due to be ready, start making your chocolate sauce.
Gently bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan on a medium heat. As soon as it starts to boil, take the pan off the heat and stir in your chocolate pieces until they’re perfectly melted and combined. Add the cubes of butter and a pinch of salt and stir well until the butter is melted.
Open one of the tamales to check that it’s perfectly cooked – it should be solid and the wrapping should peel away from it easily. Take them off the heat and let them cool down slightly so they’re cool enough to handle but still warm and delicious. Lay them on a
platter next to a jug of your warm chocolate sauce and let everyone get involved and unwrap their own.
• 32 dried corn husks or 16 rectangles
of parchment or wax paper, each ranging 6 x 8 inches
For the tamales:
• 12⁄3 cups fine cornmeal
• 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
• pinch of sea salt
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ cup sugar
• heaping ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
• ½ pineapple (approx 6 oz), peeled, core
removed, halved, and really finely diced
• zest and juice of 1 lime
For the chocolate sauce:
• scant 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 x 4-oz bar good-quality bittersweet chocolate
(70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
• a pinch of sea salt