In this Guatemalan favorite, simple and delicious tamalitos are prepared from corn dough and cheese. You can either leave the ends of the corn husks open or completely enclose the packets and tie them with string.
Dried corn husks (5 x 9 or larger)
2 1/2 cups masa harina
1/2 cup lard or shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups broth
4 to 5 oz. queso blanco, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1. Soak the dried corn husks in warm water until they are pliable, about 10 minutes. Drain them well, dry with a kitchen towel, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl or a food processor, combine the masa harina, lard, and salt. Add the broth a little at a time while mixing to form a smooth dough. Stir in the cheese.
3. Open one of the husks so that it lies flat. If the husks are too small, overlap two (heads to tails) to make up the dimensions. Spread 1/4 cup of the dough in the center of the husk. Fold over the lengthwise edge. Fold up one of the open ends (or fold in both ends and tie the tamal with string).
4. Set a rack into a steamer or Dutch oven and fill with enough water to just below rack level. Arrange the tamales, open ends up, on the rack. Cover and set over medium-low heat. Steam for 1 hour, adding water as needed.