Fall is a good time for Sweet Tamales. They are filled with just about any edible mixture of sweet ingredients. However, cinnamon spice, brown sugar and raisins are the enduring combination over the many generations of delicious sweet tamales.
You cannot go wrong with cinnamon; its strong spicy and sweet aroma entices you. Many generations ago it was a valuable spice used for religious and burial rites. Today, studies have shown that cinnamon is a good source of antioxidants, which essentially help protect the heart. For tamaleras around the world it is the right spice to mix into their masa.
Raisins have also carried their weight throughout ancient history, present in kingdoms and religious places of worship. Today we know that raisins also provide a good source of antioxidants, and a healthy dose of sweet soft raisins can help keep your digestive system regular. For me, raisins remind me of the fresh grapes that I picked and packed as a teenage migrant worker in the Coachella Valley of California. In tamales, another childhood memory, the tangy sweet soft raisins are just enough fruit to make delicious sweet tamales.
Most people enjoy sugar that is found naturally in fruits and vegetables but extracted sugar from sugar beets or sugarcane is a direct hit on our taste buds. Brown sugar, like white sugar or any type of sugar, is the game changer for any dessert. Many delicious sweet tamales are made with brown sugar. Brown sugar will change the texture of your sweet tamales, helping keep the masa moist and intact. Your taste buds will delight in it, but of course, a warning is warranted. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Moderation in all things, especially moderation”. Enjoy a delicious sweet tamal while practicing moderation.
This trio of ingredients has been the heart of Mexican sweet tamales. They blend together with the authentic masa for a perfect combination. Using this base, the creativity is endless. Tamaleras will use fresh, canned or dried fruits, nuts, other varieties of spices and even other sugars to make delicious, sweet tamales.
My ama always made sure to separate a portion of masa to ensure a bundle of authentic sweet tamales were also served. She used Panocha, which is a form of brown sugar and raisins for her sweet tamales. Our family tamaladas were a lot of work. Ama vigorously mixed the ingredients into the masa, stirring until it was nice and smooth. After filling and wrapping dozens of savory tamales, the sweet tamales had to be easy to assemble because her “work crew” was dissipating quickly. She spread the sweet masa onto a corn husk, and we closed and tied it into a traditional sweet tamal ready for steaming.
We enjoyed our sweet tamales with coffee later, after the nice homemade tamale dinner had settled. Pero, they were especially delicious the next day when my ama reheated them in a frying pan with a small amount of oil. They simmered, and as they warmed, they became crunchy sweet tamales to accompany our cafecito.
As November approaches and the weather changes, hopefully you are preparing for your holiday traditions. Sweet tamales can be a part of your holiday traditional meals without so much hard work. Texas Lone Star Tamales offers these comfy cozy ingredients in their Creamy pumpkin tamales A combination of brown sugar, pumpkin and spice blended into the smooth masa and wrapped snugly into a corn husk. The Cinnamon Raisin Apple Tamales are almost like a slice of authentic apple pie, a crisp flavor of apple mixed with cinnamon and brown sugar. Let the season lure you into the traditional fall flavors. These sweet tamales are wrapped in some of the season's comforting tastes.