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Home : Desserts : The Gold Tamales

Serves 6
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The Gold Tamales

Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of

Two of the most luxurious ingredients known to man - chocolate and gold - make this one of the most sumptuous desserts ever. Combined with the gooey caramel sauce, this is one of the richest dishes as well. Fortunately, the tart fresh lime juice in the sauce balances and cuts the sweetness. The flavorless tissue-thin gold leaf not only makes for an impressive and unique visual presentation, but it also is edible; in India, it has been used as a celebratory dessert decoration for centuries. It is available in small books of 24 sheets in cake decorating supply stores or in Indian markets, where it is labeled "Varak."


  • For the chocolate tamales:

    • 10 ounces dark semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
    • 12 large dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

  • For the caramel-lime sauce:

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 sheet gold leaf, for garnish


To prepare the chocolate tamale filling, put the pieces of chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt over simmering water, stirring constantly. Add the cream and stir until completely blended. Transfer the top half of the double boiler to the refrigerator, stirring from time to time. Chill until the mixture is firm but pliable, 30 to 45 minutes; do not let the mixture coagulate.

To prepare the tamales, cut six pieces of plastic wrap, each large enough to completely surround a corn husk. Lay out each piece of plastic on a flat work surface. Drain six of the corn husks and shake dry; reserve the remaining husks for serving. Lay out one husk on each piece of plastic. Divide the chocolate into six even portions and place one inside each husk. Wrap up the husk, shaping the chocolate into a rectangle, and wrap the plastic firmly around the husk, forming a tight envelope package. Transfer immediately to the refrigerator. Repeat for the remaining tamales. Refrigerate for at least three hours. Remove the tamales one hour before serving and bring to room temperature.

Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar terns a medium caramel color, 10 to 15 minutes. Immediately add the cream and stir until fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Unwrap the chocolate tamales from the corn husks and plastic wrap, discarding the old husks. Drain the remaining corn husks, shake dry, and lay out in the center of dessert plates. Place one rectangle of the chocolate filling in the center of each husk. Using a small-tipped dry brush, carefully place flecks of gold leaf on top of the chocolate. Spoon the sauce onto the plate around the base of the husk.

Serving Size: Serves 6



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