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
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.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen large tamales and 3 1/2 to 4 dozen medium tamales.