Southwestern Recipes

Sweet Blackberry Blue Corn Tamales

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Tamale Dough

  • 3/4 cup strained blackberry puree
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup or molasses
  • 1 cup blue corn Masa Harina
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 8 large dry husks or 10 inch aluminum foil squares


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or black walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple candy rolled into crumbs or 2 tablespoons almond paste


  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, do not use yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries, de-stemmed and washed


  1. Bring puree, water, sugar and molasses to a boil. Whisk in Masa Harina and stir mixture over low heat at a slow-popping bubble for 10 minutes. Stir in butter and lemon juice off heat. Mixture should be a firm, dry dough. not sticky, not crumbly.
  2. Roll and pat dough into 8 squares on the foil or husks, leaving 1-inch edge margin at the sides and slightly more at the ends (to tie up or twist-fold closed). Use about 4 tablespoons per tamale. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick or less. Now lay out a row of filling along the long center of the tamale (parallel to long sides of husk if used). Fold up each edge around it to meet in the middle - a fat rectangle, rather than a roll - and press edges of tamale closed at ends and top. Fold up and tie husk ends (if using), or fold up and seal shut foil. Steam tamales for 10 minutes in a steamer or wok.
  3. While steaming, whip cream, starting with whipping cream and adding sour cream, form soft peaks, add sugar and flavorings.
  4. Remove tamales, cool slightly, open them up and put on large serving plates. Pour a little juice from berries (if some has formed) over each tamale, top with some berries (1/4 cup each) and the cream, saving a few berries to garnish each dish.


Try to get blue corn Masa Harina for this; white or yellow will do, but blue looks prettier. Don't use ordinary corn meal; Masa Harina is treated with lime water and cooks differently. If you have dried corn husks, you can steam the tamales in them, otherwise use aluminum foil.

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