in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dessert Tamales: Cherry Chocolate

Different in a very good way, dessert tamales for Cinco de Mayo! Cherry chocolate filling in cocoa dough with a flourish of ganache and chopped nuts--this is a very good way to celebrate! ( Click here for Oh-so-good Veggie and Chicken main dish tamales.)
Cherry Chocolate Dessert Tamales
2 cups masa harina
1 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups hot water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water
Mix masa harina and cocoa together in a bowl. Add vanilla to 1 cup of the hot water, then pour into the masa harina and cocoa, stir to mix. Add another cup of hot water and mix again. Add the remaining hot water if needed to form a stiff but pliable dough, similar in consistency to play dough. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Whip coconut oil, salt and baking powder with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for 5 minutes. On a medium speed, beat in about 1/3 cup of the masa cocoa mixture along with 1 tablespoon cold water and 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat until thoroughly incorporated. Repeat process until all the masa cocoa and sugar is mixed in, using only enough water to keep dough loose. Whip the mixture on a higher speed for 15 minutes. Dough should be light and fluffy, about the consistency of butter cream frosting but not as smooth. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces fresh or frozen dark cherries, pitted
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Stir in orange juice and salt. Add cherries and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until cherries have broken down and mixture is very thick.
Cocoa masa dough
Cherry filling
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Soak 1/3 of an 8 ounce package of corn husks in very hot water for 10 minutes. Place about 1/4 cup dough in the center of a corn husk. Spread it out about 1/4 inch thick to 1/2 inch from sides and 1 1/2 inch from bottom. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cherry filling down the center and top with 4 chocolate chips. Pull sides of husks together and seal the filling inside by connecting the dough edges. Wrap the corn husks together and fold up the bottom. Set tamale upright in a dish then repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place tamales nearly upright on a bed of corn husks in a steamer and steam for 1 hour or until husks pull away easily from tamales. Serve warm with ganache (see Hints for recipe) and garnish with chopped pistachios or flaked coconut.
Hints: Get more tips for tamale making here. Beating the dough long enough to get it light is very important. Working with chilled dough is much easier. Wet your fingers as needed when spreading the dough. This is a hands on recipe. The filling will spill out if you don't keep the open end up when cooking. Make a nest with extra corn husks and prop one side of the group up by bunching the husks underneath. A simple ganache is made from 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 2/3 cup cream heated in a skillet over medium low heat until melted together, stirring constantly. The tamales can be cooked then chilled or frozen and reheated to serve. Use a steamer or a microwave to reheat. The cherry filling is great for empanadas or turnovers.
This is a fun way to serve the classic cherry chocolate combo differently. The corn flavor of the masa harina is strong and lends an earthiness to this lovely dessert. Gluten and dairy free (without the ganache, use a chocolate syrup instead), this dessert will appeal to nearly everyone at the party!


  1. Your killing me with this, Aunt Megan! Must try. Way to take Cinco de Mayo to a whole new level!

    1. They turned out pretty good! I really want to try some of Dax's awesome sounding tamales. Let's plan a tamale party!