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Making Pecan Pralines

Confections

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6 replies to this topic

#1 minas6907

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:06 PM

Hi Everyone.

 

I have a question about the southers style pralines. My roomate is from Texas, so I was just playing around today and though 'why not try making pralines?' The only formula I've messed with is from the 2nd ed of Chocolates and Confections, the Yankee Pralines. I subbed the walnuts and cranberry for pecans (cause I knew he probably wouldnt care for the walnuts and cranberrys). Anywho, I'm sort of wondering if they came out right. I've had the pralines he brings back from Texas, they were sort of thin obviously crystallized. What came from this recipe are chewy. I made it twice, the second time cooking the mixture 5 degree higher and making absolutely sure the mixture got agitated, but the second batch is still chewy. I supposes I had in mind that they would crystallize firmer, like a fudge or fondant center, but then I realized these candies are something that are foreign to me. I've pretty much made everything from the chapters that cover both the crystallized and non-crystallized confections, so sugar boiling and what happens when you agitate it is nothing I havent done before. After a google search, I saw that chewy pecan pralines do exist...so there appears to be two different types, those that are crystallized solid, and those that are chewy. So I was wondering, did I do something wrong here? Or am I just expecting a totally different texture then what this actually yields? Anyways, I thought about posting this topic cause I know there are people out there who have had many more pralines then I have hahaha, again these simple candies are foreign to me. It seems like everyone has a particular way they like them. Thanks again!



#2 minas6907

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:08 PM

Btw, I havent tried the Pecan Praline recipe from C&C, that will be next, I'll be interested to see the texture that yields, if its the same or not. The ingredients are a little different, but the temps are exactly the same.



#3 Jim D.

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:49 PM

Minas,

Pecan pralines are definitely an acquired taste--a real sugar overdose.  But the standard Southern praline can be found at this link from Southern Living magazine.  And Southern Living is as Southern as it's possible to get (in my opinion).

 

http://www.southernl...00417000071984/

 

The photo on that page is what I have always seen as a praline (I live in Virginia).  I find it hilarious that, according to that link, pralines were originally considered "an aid to digestion at the end of the meal."  More like a diabetic attack.



#4 kayb

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:10 AM

I have a "cheater" praline recipe I've used for years; it's very difficult to tell from the real thing. It involves (gasp) Jello pudding

 

1 4.6 oz box Jello non-instant butterscotch pudding

1.5 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 tbsp butter

2 cups toasted pecans

 

combine the pudding mix, brown sugar, evap. milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar and butter melt, cook without stirring until it reaches 238F on the candy thermometer.

 

Remove from heat, stir in pecans. Beat until it begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Drop by tablespoonsful onto aluminum foil and allow to harden.

 

Hard to tell from the real thing. This makes the thin, delicate praline that is not chewy.


Don't ask. Eat it.

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#5 highchef

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 08:46 AM

My experience with Texas pralines has been that they exist as the chewy type. New Orleans pralines have the opaque, crystalline (sp?) nature. I have seen almost every recipe out there, but I have never seen the cheater one above from Kayb. Thank you.

If you are looking for what I call the Eastern variety, buy a River Roads cookbook from the Junior League Baton Rouge. I suggest that, because I have many, many cookbooks and that one is the best representation of the best of Louisiana basic cooking. It has the recipes that I watched happen in all the kitchens of friends and family…the tried and true. Not just the beautiful creole cooking of NOLA, but all the tried and true of south LA. 

I will post the recipe if you can't find it via google. I am not at home just now, but let me know if you need it.



#6 brucesw

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:43 AM

I grew up in Texas (40s-50s) and am familiar with both types though we didn't call one of them pralines.  The pictures on the SL link look like the candies you used to get at Tex-Mex restaurants at the end of the meal, wrapped in cellophane.  I haven't see those in years.  We just called them pecan candies or Mexican pecan candies.

 

The (other type of) praline was home-made, thinner, crystalline rather than chewy in texture, not really brittle but snap-able.  I never turned down the 'free' candies at Tex-Mex restaurants but I considered them inferior, partly because of the quality of the pecans.

 

On a solo trip to NOLA as a grad student I bought a box of pralines in the Quarter; they were like what I was used to growing up.

 

I went googling to find out what the Mexican candies were called and found this Texas Monthly article with a recipe.  It turns out many people did come to call them pralines.  Note the sub-title - we don't cotton to the chewy kind.

 

The home-made ones I grew up with were a bit paler in color and typically weren't that loaded with nuts - they were as much about the sugar as the nuts.


Edited by brucesw, 22 December 2013 - 11:47 AM.

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#7 Jaymes

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:22 PM

If you eat something really spicy and your mouth is on fire, the very best way to cool it off is with sugar. So, for decades, the traditional end to a spicy meal at a TexMex restaurant was a sweet bite of the creamy, non-chewy praline-type candy. The Mexicans call it 'Leche Quemada.' It can be made with or without pecans. Sometimes it even has coconut. But it's basically the same thing as a creamy pecan praline.
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