If you love all things nutty and sweet, you’ve probably heard of praline.
This classic French confectionary comes in many varieties, and it’s so easy to prepare, you can make it yourself in just a few simple steps!
Whether you want to eat it on its own or add it to your favorite cake or dessert, there are so many ways to enjoy praline – but what are the ingredients that bring it all together?
Keep reading to learn more about what goes into making this delicious sweet treat, and learn how to make it for yourself!
Praline: What Is It?
For some, ‘Praline’ is a bit of a vague term. Let’s break it down.
For the French, a Praline refers to a roasted hazelnut or almond that’s drenched in a generous coat of caramelized sugar.
The end result can then be as confectionary, ground into a powder for dusting, or even blended up into a nutty paste.
It’s thought that Praline first hit the scene in the seventeenth century, by chef Lassagne who trained at a cooking school in Maison de la Praline.
In Belgium, the term ‘Praline’ refers to something slightly different – a type of chocolate candy (fondants or bonbons) with a soft or liquid centre.
When we talk about praline in modern terms (especially in the U.S.), we’re usually referring to a type of creamy pecan confection that’s made with sugar, cream, butter, and pecans.
How Do You Pronounce Praline?
Many often wonder, is it “praa-lean” or “pray-lean”?
Technically, the correct pronunciation is “praa-lean”, but this may vary depending on where you are in the world.
What Is An American Praline?
Praline is particularly popular in South America. It was bought over to New Orleans in the 1700s, however, they were lacking one traditional ingredient – almonds.
So, they got creative and used pecans instead. This is where the pecan praline (or American praline) came from!
The American or Southern Praline was incredibly popular in the 19th century. The women who made them often supported themselves solely through making pralines, and it soon became a signature candy in the area.
These pralines are pretty easy to create and simply use pecans, butter, milk, and corn syrup.
The ingredients are melted together and pecan halves are added to create a delicious, crunchy, and slightly sticky treat. These pralines are still enjoyed throughout America today!
What Does Praline Taste Like?
There are so many varieties of praline, it can be hard to pin down exactly what this sweet treat actually tastes like.
However, praline ALWAYS contains some form of nut and is surrounded by a sweet outer shell. So, in simple terms, nutty and sweet! Some even say it tastes a little like fudge.
Although the nuts found in praline (almonds, pecans and hazelnuts) have some pretty great health benefits, in praline, they’re surrounded by a sugar-sweet exterior.
This doesn’t make them the healthiest snack choice out there, so they’re best consumed in moderation.
How To Make Praline
Whatever your skills or ability, you’ll be pleased to know that making praline (especially American praline) is actually pretty simple.
However, the ingredients in praline can be pretty susceptible to temperature and humidity, so the results may not always come out consistent.
Don’t be disappointed if your praline doesn’t come out perfect on the first try – with the right ingredients and conditions, it’s a breeze!
Let’s take a closer look at how to make praline below:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 10-12 pecans or almonds (the choice is yours!)
- Place your nuts into a mortar, and crush them. You can also chop them into halves or quarters if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
- Put your nuts to one side, and start making the praline. Heat your butter in a pan on low heat. Now, add in your sugar and keep mixing thoroughly until the butter has melted.
- To test if your mixture is done, add a few drops to a bowl full of water. It should harden and then break easily when snapped.
- When your syrup has reached the correct consistency, you can turn off the heat and add your crushed nuts immediately. Stir it all together quickly before the syrup sets.
- You can now add your praline mixture to a plate or parchment paper, and leave it to harden at room temperature. Once hardened, you can break your praline off into smaller pieces.
- If you’re using your praline in another recipe and want smaller amounts, you can add your small pieces to a mortar and keep crushing it with a pestle until it’s nice and coarse!
- You can add whatever nuts you like to this recipe, including peanuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, or walnuts. You can even roast the nuts beforehand if you prefer, but you can also throw them in raw.
- When you’re cooking your syrup mixture, pay close attention to the mixture and stir it at regular intervals.
- Ensure the syrup mixture has reached a hard, ball-like consistency when it’s cooked. Test this in a bowl of water and try snapping it to see if it has the correct texture.
- Always use fresh nuts in this recipe, and check for any signs of spoilage before adding them to the syrup.
- Spread your praline mixture onto a plate or parchment paper as quickly as possible after cooking. Be patient while you leave it to set at room temperature.
- If you have any leftover praline, place it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature where it should last for up to one week.
The Bottom Line
Praline is a delicious, nutty sweet treat that you won’t be able to get enough of. It’s a real crowd-pleaser, and it’s so quick and easy to make, you have no excuse not to cook up a batch!
If you want to be more adventurous with your praline, why not try adding it to other recipes? Praline can be enjoyed in other delicious foods such as tarts, cakes, ice cream, cheesecake, brownies, and even bacon!