Makes about 2 1/2 dozen large tamales and 3 1/2 to 4 dozen medium tamales.
Serves 10 or 12.
4 cups Masa Harina
3 cups water
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 pounds frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 (6 ounce) bag dried corn husks
- Masa: Mix thoroughly the Masa Harina and water in a large mixing bowl. This will make 2 3/4 pounds masa, but you only need 2 1/2 pounds for the tamales, so subtract about 1/2 cup masa to arrive at approximately 2 1/2 pounds.
- Add vegetable oil, honey and salt to the masa, mixing well with a spoon. Gently stir in the corn kernels. Do not over-mix or the corn kernels will break up.
- Tamales: If using dried corn husks, soak them in enough hot water to cover in a large pot until they are pliable, about 30 minutes.
- Separate the husks into single sheets, discarding any tattered ones. Rinse sheets under warm running water to remove any silk or grit. Pile the wet husks on a large tray.
- To assemble tamales, pat a husk dry with paper towels and then place it, smoother side up and tapered end pointing toward you, on a work surface. Spoon 2 to 4 heaping tablespoons masa, depending on the size of the husk, at the top center of the husk. Spread the masa with the spoon down to the middle center of the husk. The lower part of the husk should be unfilled. Fold the sides of the corn husk over the masa so that they overlap to make a long package. Fold the unfilled end of the husk under and up so that it touches the side of the tamal without a seam. The top of the tamal should be open.
- Place the tamal on a large tray so that the open end is tilted upward slightly to ensure that the filling will not ooze out. Fill the remaining husks and pile them on the tray as you complete them.
- Place a steamer basket in a large wide pot and fill the pot with enough water to almost touch the bottom of the basket. Stand the tamales on their folded ends in the basket. They should all fit into the pot without being squeezed too tightly together. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce the heat, and steam the tamales until they set and the husks peel away easily from the masa, about 1 hour. The masa will not become firm until the final stages of steaming. Add boiling water, as needed, through the steaming processes to maintain the original level of the water but no more. Be careful not to soak any of the tamales when you add the water.
- Remove tamales from the pot to a large tray and allow them to stand for 15 minutes before serving so that they become firmer.
- Serve the tamales warm in their husks.