Blackberry and Pecan Tamales

Blackberry and Pecan Tamales

Tamales de Zarzamora y Nuez

Recipe Yield

20 tamales

Cooking time

1 hour 20 minutes

Rate this recipe

5 from 6 votes


  • 25 dried corn husks
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening or good quality lard
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lb instant corn masa mix for tamales or about 3 1/4 cups, such as Maseca
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans roughly chopped
  • 12 oz blackberries rinsed

To Prepare

To make masa for tamales:

  • Place the vegetable shortening or lard with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a mixer and beat, until very light and spongy, about 1 minute. Add the baking powder and salt, and then take turns adding the instant corn masa mix and the water. Continue beating until the dough is homogeneous and fluffy.
  • Mix in the sugar and cinnamon and continue beating until everything is well mixed. You may also do it by hand.
  • You know the tamal masa is ready if: 1. When you lift a big spoon with masa, drop it into the dough it falls “de golpe” or heavy. 2. It has the consistency of a medium thick cake batter. 3. If you place 1/2 teaspoon of masa in a cup of cold water and it floats.

To prepare the steamer:

  • Place water in the pan of a steamer and bring it to a simmer. Line the steamer with one or two layers of corn husks. Use the dough to form about 20 corn husk wrapped tamales.

To make tamales:

  • Soak the dried corn husks in hot water for a couple of minutes, until they are pliable and drain. Lay out a corn husk with the tapered ends facing towards you. Spread 3 to 4 tablespoons of the masa into a 2 to 3 inch square, the layer should be about 1/4 inch, leaving a boarder of at least 1/2 inch on the sides. Place 1 to 2 blackberries in the middle of the masa filling and sprinkle about a teaspoon of the pecans on top.
  • Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together, causing the masa to surround the berries and pecans and fold them to one side, rolling them in the same direction around the tamal. Fold up the empty section of the husk with the tapering end, from the bottom up. This will form a closed bottom and the top will be left open.
  • Prepare the tamales and then place them vertically in a container. When you have them all ready, place them as vertically as you can in the prepared steamer, with the open end on top. If there is space left in the steamer, tuck in more corn husks so the tamales will not dance around. Cover with more corn husks and steam, covered for 50 minutes to an hour over medium heat. You know the tamales are ready when the tamales come easily free from the husks.
  • Finished tamales will stay warm for about 1 to 2 hours in the steamer. They can be made ahead several days before and stored in the refrigerator, well wrapped. They can also be frozen for months. In either case, reheat in the steamer. For refrigerated tamales it will take about 15 minutes, and for frozen tamales about 45 minutes.


20comments inBlackberry and Pecan Tamales

  1. Mari Juarez

    Dec 28

    Can’t wait to try making this tamales. I’m sure they’re delicious. I might use a little less sugar.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 29

      Gracias Mari, I hope you enjoy them!

  2. Erin

    Dec 26

    A Pati recipe never fails. I used this as my inspiration and base recipe for a vegan dulce de leche, pecan, and blackberry tamal. In place of the sugar, I used 1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk that I caramelized in my slow cooker, used vegan butter, and mixed the pecans directly into the masa. I also had HUGE blackberries so I cooked and crushed them a bit more like jam. The masa (raw and cooked) reminds me of a snickerdoodle cookie and goes great with the pecan and berries. Will be making these every year!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 27

      Wow, your twist sounds really yummy Erin, thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Sheila Knight

    Jul 04

    Pati is so amazing with her cooking skills and taste food 🍱! Ican only watch her shows on the weekends because I can’t get in Illinois! Thank you Pati you
    are GREAT!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 04

      Thanks so much for your kindness Sheila 😉

  4. Alejandra Aullet

    Nov 09

    Me gustaria encontrar el video de como hacer esos tamales y de otros ingredientes..
    Gracias por tus recetas, Saludos Pati! 🌹


    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 12

      No tengo un video de como hacer esos tamales…lo siento, Alejandra.

  5. Charolette

    Dec 13

    We make tamales together as a family every year at my in laws. I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for sweet tamales. Thank you so much for posting this.

    1. Pati

      Dec 13

      I hope you and your whole family enjoy cooking and eating them together!

  6. Vanessa

    Feb 25

    No matter what i do I cannot get the masa to pass the float test. I have tried beating the lard longer until it at least doubles in volume. I have tried using cold water instead of warm, and many other “tricks” I had read about preparing the masa. I have made your green chicken tamales and the masa always turns out perfectly but this recipe is making want to pull my hair out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I love your show and have had great success making many of your recipes, but this one I just can’t get right.

    1. Pati

      Mar 10

      The two masas are actually very similar! Make the same masa as for the green tamales using water instead of broth, and just add the sweet​ filling 🙂

  7. theresa

    Jan 02

    Can you use other fruits too beside blackberries

    1. Pati

      Jan 05

      Yes for sure!

  8. Vick Orozco

    Jan 02

    Tamales are definitely a must for us during the holidays! My parents are from Guadalajara, and my mom is quite the Tamale queen! But we’ve never had them like you’ve shown here! We will have to try them, que delicia!

    1. Pati

      Jan 02


  9. Yvette Carpenter

    Dec 10

    Love your show since day 1. Thanks for being you. I was looking for a sweet (but not too sweet) tamale recipe and this one looks great. We will be making it next Sunday 12/18/16, which is also my oldest 29th birthday.

    1. Pati

      Dec 13

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for tuning in to the show, Yvette!

    2. Bianca

      May 15

      Me too!! I’ve just stumbled onto your show a few weeks ago …let me just say I have loved how you have inspired me to cook more. Thank you for being so committed to your passion.
      You inspire me !!!

      1. Pati Jinich

        May 16

        Aw thank you, Bianca!!!

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