I just happened to have a bunch of baby bananas sitting on the counter one day when inspiration struck and now these are my absolute favorite tamales. The fun part is watching your guest’s faces when they dig into the tamale and find a whole banana inside. Wrapping the tamales in banana leaves gives more flavor, but use corn husks if that’s all you have.
1/2 recipe Coconut Masa (recipe follows)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
12 baby bananas, peeled
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Dulce de leche (recipe follows)
At least 12 (6-inch by 8-inch) pieces of banana leaf, plus more for tying
Add the masa to a large bowl and work the raisins, chestnut puree and nutmeg into the masa.
To assemble the tamales, spread about 1/3 cup filling in the middle of a softened piece of banana leaf, press a baby banana into the masa then fold and tie it. Repeat for the remaining tamales.
Steam the tamales for 1 hour and serve hot with vanilla ice cream and Dulce de leche.