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Along Came Tamale

Heath resident brings sweet treat to Texas

Anita Castro’s recipe for success includes a sweet twist on tradition. Photos by Larry Johnson.

HEATH (February 2, 2014) If you live inTexas, or dine out at any local TexMex restaurant, you’ve probably enjoyed beef, chicken or pork surrounded in cornmeal dough, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Savory or spicy, there’s nothing quite like the goodness of a traditional tamale.

But did you know that tamales can also be sweet?

Heath resident Anita Castro was first introduced to dessert tamales by her husband, Ruben, who grew up in California where the fruit-flavored treats are popular in the Mexican bakeries. Upon returning toTexas, the couple tried for years to replicate their favorite flavors, so they could share them with family and friends at Christmastime. Finally, in early 2013, they fine-tuned their recipes. Demand for their sweet tamales grew, and in May of last year, they launched “Along Came Tamale,” and began marketing their product in Texas.

Give breakfast a boost with blueberry tamales.

“Most people we talk to have never heard of them,” said Anita, “but cinnamon raisin tamales, served up with a cup of hot chocolate, are a Mexican tradition. Pineapple tamales are also a traditional favorite. We’ve given an authentic Mexican dessert a sweet twist by adding apple, blueberry and chocolate chip flavors. They’re great for breakfast, too.”

Over the holidays, Along Came Tamale created a seasonal pumpkin variety. “Customers told us it was like a portable pumpkin pie,” Anita said.

Sales orders have kept the former Certified Public Account busy preparing tamales up to seven days a week. Her tamales were ranked among the Five Tastiest Tamales by D Magazine’s SideDish. She is now perfecting a special flavor for Valentine’s Day.

Anita’s dessert tamales are naturally gluten free. They contain no preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup.

“Our tamales are naturally gluten free. They contain no preservatives, no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. We use only pure and simple ingredients,” Anita added. 

Vacuum sealed and frozen, the tamales come in packages of three and can be easily reheated in the microwave. Or place the unopened bag in boiling water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. An instruction label is placed on each package, often by Anita’s 8-year-old daughter.

“It’s a family-run business, and on Saturdays, everyone helps,” Anita said.

Planning a party? Consider piling dessert tamales on a platter for a delicious conversation starter.

The tamales are prepared in her sister Diana’s commercial kitchen in Waxahachie, where they are available for sale at Garden Harvests Farm & Market. Locally, they can be found Enjoy! in downtown Rockwall, as well as at Farmers Markets and specialty food stores. Arboledas Mexican Grill will offer them on their dessert menu at their Rockwall, Heath, Royse City and Caddo Mills locations. Anita hosts free samplings, and says that even skeptics who are unsure about trying them, are “pleasantly surprised” when they do.

Still not sure? Anita also offers a line of tamales featuring red chile pork and beef or chicken tomatillo. Sample the pork flavor at Arboledas, too. Learn more at alongcametamale.com or on facebook.

By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photos by Larry Johnson.

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