1 pkg. (8 oz.) dried corn husks
1 cup lard or shortening, divided
2 1/2 cups masa harina flour, (mexican corn masa mix)
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Sort through corn husks, setting aside any torn ones. Soak intact husks in warm water for at least 1 hour or until softened and easy to fold.
Beat 2/3 cup lard in large bowl until creamy. Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Alternately add flour mixture, water and sweetened condensed milk to lard, mixing well after each addition. Melt remaining lard; gradually stir into masa mixture, mixing until consistency of thick cake batter (masa). Stir in vanilla, raisins and nuts.
Spread 1/4 cup masa, using back of a spoon, to form a square in the center of one husk. Fold right then left edge of husk over masa. Fold up bottom edge. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Place vegetable steamer in pot with lid; add water to just below steamer. Arrange tamales upright in steamer rack. Cover top of tamales with reserved dry husks and a damp towel; cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Steam, adding water as needed, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until masa pulls away from husks.
Makes 24 sweet tamales.
Date: April 13, 2006