Appetite for holiday tamales keeps family bakery busy

La Purisima Bakery makes hundreds of tamales a week but can barely keep up with holiday orders in December.

“It gives us a lot of satisfaction to make tamales and we make a lot of them,” said Iris Arellano, whose family owns the bakery.

La Purisima has been in business for 32 years and has become a popular place to buy fresh-made tortillas, pastries, and during this time of year tamales.

Workers make about 300 to 400 dozen tamales and the orders double during the Christmas season. Tamales are made of a corn meal mix or “masa” stuffed with a variety of fillings and wrapped in a cornhusk.

“We are dedicated to making only four types of tamales: red and green chile with pork, chile with fresh corn and cheese and sweet tamales with raisins and coconut,” said Iris Arellano, a tamale maker at La Purisima.

Tamales are a holiday favorite across the southwest. People line up to order their favorite variety at restaurants and bakeries throughout Arizona.

Gourmet fillings and vegan tamales are available at some shops but most customers at La Purisima people prefer the traditional variety.

“Many of our American clients love the red chile and pork,” said Iris Arellano.