Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Southern Souvenirs: Day 5 - Pecan Pralines

As sugary as they are Southern, pecan pralines are a Southern tradition that began in New Orleans, LA in the 19th century. Early "pralines" were actually not made with pecans, instead, whole almonds were individually coated in caramelized sugar. It wasn't until French settlers brought this recipe to Louisiana, where both sugar cane and pecan trees are plentiful, that New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for almonds, added cream to thicken the confection, and transformed the praline to what is now thought of as a traditional pecan praline.
If you can't make it to New Orleans for the original, pralines are fairly easy in your very own kitchen:

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups pecan pieces and halves
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut in pieces

Combine sugar, milk, and water in a 2-quart saucepan; heat to boiling stirring constantly. Cook until mixture reaches soft ball consistency (235°).Remove from heat; stir in pecans, vanilla, and butter. Immediately drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.

Or, if you don't think candy making is your cup of tea, you can have the sweet treats delivered right to your door from Aunt Sally's in New Orleans.


Allen said...

Yum!!! Pralines.

Jean said...

The classic praline candy is still the best. Yummy post! I'll make one tomorrow and I stumbled in this post, maybe I'll refer to this recipe.