I was excited when I saw Stefan’s recipe for making tamales with air beaten into the dough. Light tamales are my favorite. The flavors in this recipe connected me to my spirit. I cannot express how privileged I am to have this recipe. Stefan must be one of the finest bloggers on the internet!
Some of the science required to appreciate this recipe is from physics: buoyancy and density. The explanation for increasing the volume of beaten fat to trap air in fat particles is similar to an explanation from physics, but it usually appears in books on food and science. Oil floats on water because oil is less dense than water. The mass of oil per cubic unit is less than the mass of water per cubic unit. Because water is “heavier” than oil, the force of water displaced by oil is greater than the mass of the oil; thus, the oil floats. The water pushes the oil to the surface. This is called buoyancy. By beating the lard and the masa, the volume of the dough is increased by air trapped in particles of the dough. Once the dough is less dense than water, a buoyant force pushes a lump of the dough to the surface of the water. Beating the dough makes the dough float in water!
These are the finest tamales that I have eaten. The sauce is sweet, not smoky. The masa and lard create the flavors I associate with my favorite Mexican foods. Since I preferred making Mexican beans without the seeds in the chilies, I removed the seeds in the chilies in this recipe. I did not make pork stock because I associate the flavors from mixing two meats with exciting foods. I used Maseca to thicken the sauce, but I want to taste the sauce when I thicken the sauce with bread.
I had problems using my steaming pot because tamales made with parchment paper are fragile. Tamales made with corn husks are sturdy. They can be placed upright in a steaming pot without having any problems. While believing that I was putting tamales made with parchment paper in the steaming pot similarly to tamales made with corn husks, I became confused. To avoid a disaster, I cooked them on their sides. One of the problems is that the tamales made with parchment paper cannot be arranged in my steaming pot to permit someone to observe the tops of each tamale. A second problem is that if the tamales are not carefully placed in the steaming pot, the bottom of the tamale might collapse. I am going to try this again. The blog post by Richard includes the idea of making a tamale pie by cooking the tamales in ramekins in a water bath. There is more information in the recipe below.
Note: 1) I might use string to tie groups of 4 or 5 tamales together
(The recipe and citations appear in a link at the bottom of this blog post)
Cooking The Pork
Preparing The Broth For The Sauce
Making The Sauce
Making The Filling For The Tamales
Cutting The Parchment
Making The Tamales
Steaming The Tamales
Download The Recipe: