By Robin Hester, Innkeeper & owner of Sobotta Manor, Mount Airy, NC. Robin attended the PAII.org conference in New Orleans January 2015 and took the creole Praline making cooking class.
Creole confections occupy a neat position in the United States most popular of these is the praline. Pralines derive their name from Marshal Luplesis-Praslin (1598-1695) and his butler’s recipe for almonds coated in sugar were used as a digestive aid. When Louisiana was settled by French colonists, native pecans were substituted for almonds.
Along with their vast collection of creole recipes, cooks had their own secret method for making the best pralines, which they guarded carefully and handed down generation to generation.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups pecans, roasting is optional
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients and bring to a soft stage (238º-240ºF degrees) stirring constantly it is about 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Stir until mixture thickens (again stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on buttered waxed paper, aluminum foil or parchment paper. When using waxed paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath, as hot wax will transfer to whatever is beneath.
Note; to roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275° for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.
praline sauce add 1/2 cup corn syrup to mixture) add chocolate and cover pralines. For flavored pralines (chocolate, coffee, brandy, etc., add to mixture before pouring out of pan.
Makes: 1 to 50 pralines depending on size. For a party you may choose to make just one large praline and let people break off the amount they would enjoy eating!