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Basic Fresh Masa Preparada

Serves: Makes about 3 dozen tamales

Ingredients:

  • 1 ⅓ cups lard or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 pounds fresh masa (not "masa preparada" which already includes lard and flavorings)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed

  • For assembling tamales:
  • 1 bag soaked corn husks
  • Filling of your choice


Procedures:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the butter or lard, with salt and baking powder (if using), and whip on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the fresh masa, alternating with 2 cups of broth. Beat until well mixed. (Depending on the capacity of your mixer, you may need to do this in two batches.)

Increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip until masa resembles the consistency of soft yet workable dough, about 3 minutes. If the dough is too firm, add more broth, ¼ cup at a time, until the correct consistency is attained.

To assemble the tamales: lay the corn husk flat, rough side down and the tip pointing away from you. If it’s a small husk, place two together, overlapping them a bit. Spread about ⅓ cup masa preparada in the center of the bottom part of the husk, using moistened fingers or the back of a spoon, smooth dough to about a ⅓-inch thickness. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling of your choice. Fold the two long sides of the husk towards the middle so that the masa forms a tube around the filling. Fold the pointed tip of the husk down over the filled section. The filling end will be exposed, but the masa will set and protect it during steaming.

To steam the tamales: Add 2 cups water and the steamer insert to the pressure cooker.

Working in batches, stack tamales vertically inside the cooker with the open end up and pressure cook for 15 minutes.

If husk does not peel away easily, pressure cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until tamales are cooked through.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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