Remove the husks from the corn, saving the large inner ones and discarding the very outer and the small inside husks (you'll need 3 husks for each tamale). In a large bowl, cover the husks with enough hot water to cover and leave to soak.
With a sharp knife over a large mixing bowl, remove the corn kernels from the cobs saving all the juices. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of corn. Add the red pepper, sour cream, milk, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper to the bowl and stir to mix.
Drain the husks thoroughly in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Place approximately 1/4 cup of the filling onto 1 husk and spread it slightly lengthwise. Bring the top and bottom ends to the center, overlapping slightly. Wrap another husk around it lengthwise, forming a cylindrical shape. Use one more husk to seal and secure the shape by wrapping the opposite way. Using butchers twine, tie securely crosswise and make a knot.
Place the tamales in a steamer over simmering water and steam for 1 hour. Remove with a slotted spatula. Cut the strings and remove. Cool slightly, then serve with a dollop of sour cream and a drift of paprika.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved