Raspberry Dessert Tamales

This year I did something I have wanted to do for years. I made sweet tamales!

If you do not live in an area with a large Mexican population, than you probably did not even know sweet tamales even existed. I first made them with my daughter’s Godmother Victoria, who is Mexican-American, a few years ago on a whim. She had never made them, so we got some premade sweet masa dough from a Hispanic store, a couple of cans of pineapple and went to town! Victoria’s daughter Callie and son Antonio helped make and eat the tamales. Even Ruby, who was about two at the time, ate one. They turned out pretty good, and I have wanted to make them again ever since.

Every Christmas Eve, my daughter Ruby and I spend the day with Victoria and her family, who do a huge tamale production that involves giant bowls of masa dough and multiple fillings! This year they are making Pork with Mole Rojo and Vegetarian with Cheese, Fresh Salsa and Soy Filling. I usually tote home a bag with a few tamales to share with mom, and some to eat at a later time.  This year, I got to bring some tamales to the party!

I had a few coupons from Driscoll’s Berries, so I went to the market and got some gorgeous, sweet raspberries. Even if your berries are sweet, be sure to sprinkle them with sugar to bring out the  the juices.

Instant masa flour can be found in Hispanic markets and many supermarkets around the country. It can also be found online.

Tamale Making Tips

When making the tamales place the narrow end of the corn husk closest to you. Spread the masa dough thinly on the corn husks, then top with the filling.

Fold the two sides closed, then fold the narrow end up. Tie the tamale closed using a piece of corn husk.

Place a plate or steamer basket in the bottom of a large stock pot. Put a few inches of water into the pot, just to the level of the plate, then place the tamales into the pot. Cover the tamales with a damp towel, then a tight fitting lid.

I am actually finishing this post at Victoria’s house, and made everyone try them before I posted the recipe. As her sister Rebecca said, “Oh, you want a REAL Mexican to try them, huh?”


Recipe: Raspberry Dessert Tamales


  • 3-4 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups instant masa harina
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw cane sugar
  • dried corn husks, soaked in hot water for one hour, drained and patted dry


  1. Place the raspberries into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the raspberries with the sugar, stir to mix.
  3. Place the raspberries into the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. In a mixer on medium speed, combine the masa harina and butter, until combined and crumbly.
  5. Add the orange juice and vanilla, mix until combined.
  6. Slowly pour in the sugar, mix for about one minute, until the masa dough is well combined.
  7. Spread about 2 tablespoon of masa dough onto a corn husk, leaving about 1/2″ border on the side.
  8. Place about 4-5 raspberries into the center of the masa.
  9. Fold the sides together, then tie with a strip of corn husk.
  10. Place a steamer basket or overturned plate into a large stock pot, add a few inches of water, just to the bottom of the basket.
  11. Place the tamales onto the basket, cover with a damp towel, then a tight fitting lid.
  12. Steam the tamales for one hour.
  13. Remove the tamales from the steamer and let cool slightly before serving.
  14. Makes 14-17

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

6 thoughts on “Raspberry Dessert Tamales”

  1. These look fantastic. I like the idea of some ice cream with these…aka, I desperately have been searching for something to go with a Sweet Corn Ice Cream recipe I clipped a few months ago.

  2. Your tamales were delicious. Tamale enough to be a tamale and dessert enough to be eaten with ice cream!

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