Humintas

I’m racking my brain for the best way to describe a huminta, and all that I can come up with is the Bolivian version of a tamale, but that seems like a tragically inefficient way of categorizing these wonderful cheesy pastry.  This Bolivian speciality consists of a sweet corn dough, stuffed with a salty white farmers cheese, and baked in a steamed corn husk.   I usually cut the corners on this one, by-passing the steam corn husks, in exchange for cup-cake lined muffin tins and using canned corn instead of cooking and grating the fresh stuff.  The processing of the fresh corn and corn husks, just adds that element of further complication that converts a relatively quick recipe into an afternoon long project.  Of course, there is always a trade off to corner cutting, and in this case it comes down to the moistness of the humintas.  I have found that this isn’t a problem as long as you eat them freshly baked, but they tend to dry out by the next day.  So grab yourself a mug of tea or coffee (somehow these are amazing with coffee), tuck in, and chow down.

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Recipe makes 16-18 small humintas.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz Yellow Sweet Corn
  • 15 oz Creamed Corn (if you are using fresh corn, grate the cooked corn)
  • 1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups Masa Harina (or any finely milled corn flour)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 inch cubes of Queso Fresco or low moisture Mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (~177 C), and place a baking pan full of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
  2. Line two muffin tins with cup-cake liners, leaving a couple of empty muffin cups in each tin.  One on each side of the tin or a couple in the middle works well.
  3. In a sauce pan combine the corn and sweetened condensed milk.  Bring the corn to a boil, and then allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Remove the corn from the heat.
  5. Whip up the butter in a separate bowl.
  6. Beat in the corn mixture, corn flour (masa harina), and salt.
  7. Take a bit of dough in your hands, and flatten it into a thin disk.  Place a cube of cheese into the middle of the disk and wrap the dough fully around the cheese.
  8. Place the dough covered cheese into one of the lined muffin cups. Continue to form the remaining humintas, and place them into the muffin cups.
  9. Carefully fill the empty muffin cups with water.
  10. Bake the humintas for 45-50 minutes.  Check the water pan occasionally to ensure that it still has a sufficient amount of water to create the steam bath.

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