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Sweet tooth indulgence during National Pralines Day

Pralines have a very unique quality. Eaten on its own, it’s already quite a delicious dessert or snack. But it achieves another level of sophistication when it becomes part of a mélange of other ingredients that work together to form other stunning dessert creations.

Pralines are made from a combination of syrup and nuts. The origins of pralines can be traced back to France in the 17th century. The pralines made in France were made using almonds. In fact, the first iterations of the praline came in the form of a whole almond that has been encased in caramelized sugar. These basic pralines were made from ingredients that were readily available in France at that time. But pralines eventually evolved with the introduction of other ingredients that became plentiful later on.

Pralines can be used as an ingredient in desserts and confections. Basic pralines ground up into a powder is called pralin and this has become an important ingredient in making cakes, pastries and other dessert preparations. In fact, pralin is one of the main ingredients in the making of Belgian Chocolates (praline belge).

Pralines eventually found its way to the New World through the French settlers who made their home in Louisiana. With both sugar and pecans quite abundant in the area, the Louisiana pralines evolved. Instead of the traditional almonds, pecans were substituted instead and cream was added to the caramelized syrup, which gave it a creamier, fudgier consistency.

Whether you want to make traditional pralines, New Orleans-style pralines, or Belgian chocolates, you’ll want to indulge your sweet tooth today especially since it is National Pralines Day.

Pralines recipes

The basic French-style praline calls for a cup of sugar and a cup of slivered almonds.

First you need to line a baking sheet. A foil lining is the best because there’s a tendency for the finished pralines to stick to a wax paper lining. Using a dry heavy saucepan put the sugar in and cook it over low heat. Stir the sugar with a fork so that the sugar will melt evenly. Allow the melted to sugar to achieve a pale golden color. Now cook the resulting caramel without stirring. Just swirl the pan until it gets a deep gold in color.  Throw in the almonds, stirring the caramel until everything is coated thoroughly. Cook until the mixture becomes fragrant. At this point you need to work extra quickly. Pour the mixture and, using a metal spatula, spread it on the foil-covered baking sheet to a thickness of about 1/4 of an inch. Allow it to cool then put it in the ref to chill for about 15 minutes. When it has hardened  you can chop it up.

Praline can keep for a week or two. Just keep it in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry area in your kitchen.

Below are some really creative uses of praline:

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping

Cheesecake is one of those desserts that practically everyone loves. A Pumpkin Cheesecake may not be one of those usual cheesecake variants but it’s very delicious  — and with a pecan praline topping, it’s a sure winner.

Hazelnut-Praline Torte

Tortes are very luscious and decadent. To amp up the decadence, using powdered praline on this Hazelnut-Praline Torte makes it more delicious and even makes it look prettier.

Pumpkin Pecan-Praline Pie

Pumpkin seems to be a natural complement to the rich, sweet taste of praline. Pie, on the other hand, is comfort food. Combine a pumpkin pie with praline and what you have is a  Pumpkin Pecan-Praline Pie that will give you a virtual hug whenever you eat it.

Praline Chocolate Jar Cakes

If you want to make a great impression when you host a dinner, prepare these Praline Chocolate Jar Cakes. It’s a dessert that you don’t always encounter but it’s one that will definitely wow the crowd.

Baked French Toast with Praline Topping

French toast is something that I always associate with breakfast. But this Baked French Toast gets a great twist with the addition of praline topping. Who said breakfast can’t be exciting?

 

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