Every year for Día de los Muertos I make these sweet orange tamales studded with slivered almonds and golden raisins. Día de Muertos is a special day to remember our loved ones who have passed, and my abuelita loved dessert tamales, so we make them together as a family in her honor.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Sweet tamales are the best tamales! If you've never tried them you are in for a treat. Sweet tamales are actually one of the oldest recorded foods in pre-Colombian Mexico. The Nahuas would sweeten the masa with honey or agave honey and eat them as part of a religious ritual or celebration. Not unlike the way they are eaten today.
These homemade tamales have become one of my favorites, because the sweetness of the orange pairs perfectly with the corn masa, resulting in a tender pocket of corn bursting with flavor. Plus they are also vegan and gluten-free.
Is nixtamalized corn flour. It is widely available at grocery stores sometimes labeled as corn flour for tortillas.
Dried corn husks are sold in the Mexican section of the grocery store or at your local Mexican market. They need to be rinsed and soaked before use. If they have black spots, discard them, because it could be mold. When you're ready to use them, drain them, and select the biggest ones for tamales and the rest to line the steamer.
Unsalted Butter (Vegan):
I use unsalted vegan butter to make these, but if you can't find unsalted butter, you can use salted vegan butter, but you will need to omit the salt in the recipe.
I use golden raisins because I love the subtle flavor and color, but regular raisins are more traditional.
Pure Cane Turbinado Sugar:
I use turbinado sugar because it is delightfully refined to retain more molasses, giving it a light golden color and larger crystals than granulated sugar, but you can also use brown sugar.
How to Make Orange Tamales
To make the marmalade, cut oranges into segments and add them to a pot along with their juice.
Add turbinado sugar.
Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.
Beat the vegan butter, on medium speed, with a handheld electric mixer, for about 3 minutes.
Add the baking powder and salt and beat for 1 minute.
Add half of the masa harina.
Beat to incorporate it into the butter, about 1 minute.
Pour in almond milk slowly.
And beat once more. Add the rest of the masa harina and water and beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed, about 5 minutes
Pour in the orange marmale.
Beat to completely incorporate.
Add in raisins and almonds, and beat again.
The batter should be the texture of a thick cake batter.
Use a spoon to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough onto the corn husk.
Fold over the sides of the husk, then fold it once more.
Arrange the tamales in the steamer.
Cook for 40 minutes or until the husk separates easily from the masa.
Expert Tips and Tricks
The consistency of your masa matters. It needs to be the consistency of a thick cake batter, and you should be able to easily pass a spatula through it. If your masa is too thick, add warm water in 1/2 cup portions until you reach the right consistency.
If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa and use only 1 cup of almond milk. To substitute the fat you can use 8 oz. of coconut oil. For tamales without fat, substitute with 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin puree.
Serve immediately out of the steamer while they are still warm.
Let them cool down completely and store them in an air-tight container or silicone bag, and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.
The best way to reheat them is to place them back in the steamer, and let them steam for 6 to 8 minutes. Reheat the in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute with the husk on.
Yes!! You can use any kind of fat, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and vegetable shortening. Butter is great for making sweet tamales.
Sweet tamales are made with masa or masa harina sweetened with sugar and filled with an assortment of fruits, jams, nuts, or dried fruit.
Sweet tamales are pink because food coloring is added to them to distinguish them from savory tamales, but also to make them more visually appealing.
More Vegan Tamales Recipes
Sweet Orange Tamales
- 30 Dried corn husks
- 5 oranges, cut into segments
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 cup vegan butter, unsalted
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ¼ cups masa harina
- 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
- 2 cups warm water
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup golden raisins
- To prepare the corn husks, place them in your kitchen sink or a large potand cover them in hot water. Soak for at least 1 hour.
- Combine the orange segments, their juice, and C&H® Turbinado Sugar in a medium pot. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it has the consistency of marmalade. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Beat the vegan butter, on medium speed, with a handheld electric mixer, for about 3 minutes. Add the baking powder and salt and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
- Add the masa harina and beat to incorporate it into the butter, about 1 minute. Pour in the almond milk slowly. After it is completely incorporated, add the rest of the masa harina and water and beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed, about 5 minutes. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. Add the raisins, almonds, and orange marmalade and beat slowly to mix them into the masa, for about 1 minute.
Setup the Steamer
- Fill the bottom of the steamer with water, making sure the water does not touch the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with the corn husks.
Assemble the Tamales
- To wrap the tamales, take a husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Use a spoon to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough onto the corn husk. Fold over the sides of the husk, then fold it once more. Fold down the tapered section of the corn husk. This will leave one side of the tamales open.
Cook the Tamales
- To cook the tamales, place each tamales vertically in the steamer, leaning against the side of the pot, with the open end on top. Cover them with a layer of corn husks, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes.
- Check the tamales. When they separate easily from the corn husk, it means they are done. If they are not done, steam them for 10 more minutes and check again. Remove the steamer from the heat and let the tamales sit uncovered for 10 minutes to cool.
- Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem soft. As they cool, they will firm up.
- If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa. You can also use 8 oz. of coconut oil or 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin to replace the fat.
Although dorastable.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates.