Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

DEMO: Praline and Caramelized Nuts


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 chiantiglace

chiantiglace
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 29 June 2005 - 05:20 PM

Hey Everyone. Since the previous demo was so fun and received a lot of feed back I thought I'd continue with more.

Praline's seem to come up once a month atleast. People seem to dispute all sides of pralines, when to use, how to use, and most of all how to make.

So here you go. This praline is made from chopped Macadamia nuts, which I will use for a white chocolate and macadamia nut mousse with rainier cherry compote. You can check that out here>Egulleteers Plated Desserts. Which will be post shortly after this demo.

Heres a start:

In this picture is 5 oz of chopped/blanched macadamia nuts already to go. My oven is at 400F conventional.
Posted Image

They will bake for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted
Posted Image

While the nuts are toasting, put 9 oz of sugar in a saucepan and just cover with water.
Posted Image

Cook on high heat brushing down the sides of the pan with wet brush until rapidly boiling.
Posted Image

Once signs of caramel become prevalent
Posted Image

toss your toasted nuts in once a deep caramel, which could come to happen in secounds so be ready.
Posted Image

Once all in, poor onto a silicone baking mat or a lightly greased SS pan/ Non-stick pan
Posted Image
Posted Image

Next, this is how I do it if your at home and dont have a constant source for everything you need as I do in the restaurant. I made extra caramelized sugar so I can use that later in a simple syrup when processing.

So carefully, when beginning to cool and very malleable, pull/cut/tear off the excess sugar from the pralines and put back into your saucepan.
Posted Image
Posted Image

While doing that, mold your praline how you want it. I put it all together so its even throughout. This way I dont have clusters of nuts and big splots of solid sugar.
Posted Image
Posted Image

If all I was making was Pralines I would actually want a little less sugar coating my nuts, but this is fine for what I'm using it for. Even if you were making pralines this would be quite good too.

Next, cover the excess sugar in water and big back to a boil to dissolve.
Posted Image
Posted Image

Let the pralines cool mostly. While warm but hard go ahead and break it up as much as you'd like. Then put about a quarter into your food processor.
Posted Image

Blend it until its well broken up.
Posted Image

Add a quarter at a time blending consistently until all is added. Blend fine.
Posted Image

You see its fine but still dry and crumbly.

You should be reducing the water out of your caramel syrup while doing this until simple syrup stage. You'll know this because the bubbles will just become larger and consume the entire surface. Before this desired stage the bubbles will be sporatic and small.
Posted Image

Once you get your syrup, take it off the heat and allow to cool just until warm.

I put my syrup into a cup for easier pouring

Turn your processor on and gradually pour your syrup into the ground pralines just until its starts to come together. It will look like a paste, hence it being praline paste.
Posted Image

Keep processing until very smooth and somewhat shiny/sleek. Don't worry about adding too much syrup because the paste really can only absorb so much before the oils block it out. What you will get is a little syrup laying onto, just place your paste in a seive and toss it around until a single consistency.

Once finished your praline should look like this:
Posted Image

Its all one uniform texture and is very malleable, almost like taffy. It molds easy but doesnt stretch.
Posted Image
Posted Image

Very simple, and you see it doesnt stick to my hands.

Lastely I place it in a sealable container and place it in the fridge to be used at my disposal.

I hope this helps you all, and if you have any questions on the process or other processes that I maybe be able to document for you, dont be afraid to ask.
Dean Anthony Anderson
"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This
Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

#2 CanadianBakin'

CanadianBakin'
  • participating member
  • 1,449 posts
  • Location:Mission, BC

Posted 29 June 2005 - 07:40 PM

Cook on high heat brushing down the sides of the pan with wet brush until rapidly boiling.

This is probably a stupid question, but why? I never brush the sides and I've never seen an adverse effect. What am I missing?
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#3 sanrensho

sanrensho
  • participating member
  • 1,647 posts
  • Location:North Vancouver, BC

Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:28 PM

Thanks for another great demo. I was actually thinking about making a batch of pralines for a cake I was making.

I also have a question. I always thought that a traditional French praline looked like the ones in the photo below. Could you do a demo for achieving pralines like these?

French pralines
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#4 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 671 posts

Posted 30 June 2005 - 07:10 AM

Fabulous demo, ChiantiG! I really appreciate your taking the time to post these -- nothing beats seeing new techniques in action.

#5 chiantiglace

chiantiglace
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 30 June 2005 - 11:23 AM

Thanks for another great demo. I was actually thinking about making a batch of pralines for a cake I was making.

I also have a question. I always thought that a traditional French praline looked like the ones in the photo below. Could you do a demo for achieving pralines like these?

French pralines

View Post



San, I have to say these are probably more or less the same thing/procedure. The only difference is the choice of nut being almond. They say they are grilling the almonds which is basically open flame toasting, giving it good flavor. The huse of the word "toffee" stumps me a bit. My only geuss when they say that is they themself are confused or they have cream and butter in there caramel, which is possible. That would make a slightly softer candy easier to "crunch". I have made confections similar but I often called it "bark" or "brittle" rather than "praline".

Edited by chiantiglace, 30 June 2005 - 11:24 AM.

Dean Anthony Anderson
"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This
Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

#6 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 30 June 2005 - 12:20 PM

Another wonderful demo! I'm just enthralled by them....

Can you explain what this sentence means?

toss your toasted nuts in once a deep caramel, which could come to happen in secounds so be ready.


Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#7 chiantiglace

chiantiglace
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 30 June 2005 - 03:12 PM

ooh. After re-reading that I can see how it will throw you.

You want to be ready to put your nuts in once your sugar turns an amber, light golden caramel. Once it get a deep rich dark color, cut the heat and toss them in.

The point is to be ready and prepared at the first signs of caramel because the darkening stages can come quickly so you must be prepared. Then again if you kitche is cold plus the rangeing thickness of your pan it could come slowly.
Dean Anthony Anderson
"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This
Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

#8 jgarner53

jgarner53
  • participating member
  • 1,198 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 30 June 2005 - 03:46 PM

Cool demo! Thanks! I've made pralines and ground them up before, but hadn't seen or done the making of the paste. So....what all will you use the paste in? The obvious answers that come to mind are buttercream, and ice cream. What else?
"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner
buttercream pastries

#9 chiantiglace

chiantiglace
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 30 June 2005 - 03:53 PM

anything and everything. I've used them in coffee and rootbeer. The rich caramel taste plus the nuts can also work in medium savory sweet operations too. Can used a small bit to line a tart shell or gallete before filling with cream. Can use it in any ganache mousse of frozen filling. Can use it in cheese tarts that are wrapped in pie dough. Can use it as a small layer in molds. the list goes on, use your imagination.
Dean Anthony Anderson
"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This
Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

#10 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 30 June 2005 - 06:17 PM

Wow -- great ideas. I thought you were just supposed to scoop the stuff into your mouth with a quarter-cup measure.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#11 K8memphis

K8memphis
  • participating member
  • 2,467 posts
  • Location:memphis tn

Posted 30 June 2005 - 08:35 PM

Thank you for doing this--this is awesome!!!

You da bomb!!

#12 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 09 July 2005 - 02:26 PM

This is a very different technique from mixing toasted nut with caramel as shown above. This is a method you would use if you want individual whole nuts with a thin coating of caramel, useful for garnishing, as a crunchy component in a dessert, or just eating as a snack (which I'll bet is where your first batch will end up - it's hard to stop eating them). This recipe will not work with delicate, high-fat nuts like pecans, walnuts or pistachios since they will burn long before the sugar caramelizes. I've only done it with almonds and hazelnuts myself, so I don't know if macadamias would work too.

It is important that the nuts be raw and blanched since the process of caramelizing will also toast them, and the skins would not only prevent you from telling how dark they were, but would also tend to flake off and taste bitter. Blanched almonds are usually easy to find or skin yourself at home with boiling water. Blanched raw hazelnuts are harder to find for the home cook, and though they can be blanched at home with water and baking soda, that method is not without its issues (as you can read about here).

This recipe calls for a small amount of cocoa butter. You can substitute butter, but the advantage of the cocoa butter is it's 100% fat that is solid at room temperature, so it will not soften the caramel when you add it and will form a nice moisture barrier when the nuts have cooled, which can help protect them from humidity so they won't get sticky as fast.

This is a small batch that can easily be multiplied. At work, we make batches using three kilos of nuts once a week or so. Just make sure to use a large enough pan so you have enough room to stir and they aren't so deep that they don't all get some time at the bottom of the pan so they'll toast.

Make sure you have everything scaled and all your equipment ready before you start. You will need a wooden spoon (I really like my Matfer exoglass paddle, but don't use metal since it will get too hot, or a rubber spatula that will be too flexible), a sheet pan with a silpat, and rubber gloves. Also have your cocoa butter ready to add quickly - I put it on the silpat so I don't forget it at the end.

Posted Image

Ingredients:

200 g whole, blanched, raw almonds or hazelnuts
70 g sugar
15 g water
3 g cocoa butter
1/4 of a vanilla bean

Put the sugar, water and vanilla bean (split and scraped) in a sauce pan and just bring to a boil:

Posted Image

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the nuts:

Posted Image

Stir the nuts until the sugar begins to turn white and then crystallize. The process is known as "sanding". The nuts should now be coated with crystallized sugar with some loose sugar in the pan:

Posted Image

Return the pan to heat and turn the temp to medium to medium-high. Stir the nuts slowly so the nuts will have some time in contact with the hot bottom of the pan and toast. You'll soon notice some of the sugar on the bottom of the pan start to melt:

Posted Image

As more of the sugar melts, the nuts should also begin to brown:

Posted Image

Here the sugar is almost all melted and has begun to caramelize. At this point it's tempting to stop before the caramel gets too dark, but keep cooking and stirring a little longer because the nuts aren't fully toasted yet. If the nuts are starting to smoke, turn the heat down to medium low or low, or even take the pan off the heat for a moment while you stir.

Posted Image

OK, the caramel is nice, rich brown and the nuts are toasted. It can also be very easy to over toast the nuts, especially almonds, so don't go too dark. At this point, take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the cocoa butter until in melts, then pour out onto the silpat.

Posted Image

After dumping the nuts onto the sheet pan, Its time to put on the rubber gloves. Continue to stir the nuts gently while they cool. When the caramel is starting to get sticky and the nuts are just cooled enough to touch without immediately burning your fingers (they'll still be VERY hot), begin to stir with your hands and separating them with your fingers. The gloves are important both to keep the caramel from sticking to your fingers, as well as keeping moisture from you hands from melting the caramel and making it sticky as it cools.

Posted Image

Keep pulling the nuts apart and rubbing them with your hands, which will now be coated with melted cocoa butter keeping the nuts from re-sticking together. If the nuts have been properly toasted, when they are cool they will sound like glass beads when you stir them.

Posted Image

Here is a close-up of the nuts showing the color you're looking for next to an under caramelized nut. Cut them in half and you can see the difference in toasting - the one on the right is pretty much still raw inside.

Posted Image

#13 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 671 posts

Posted 09 July 2005 - 05:53 PM

Great demo -- thanks! Do you use these nuts in any form other than whole?

#14 FWED

FWED
  • participating member
  • 250 posts
  • Location:Snohomish Wa

Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:31 AM

Both of these techniques were used by the students in the World Pastry Forum hands on chocolate class to fabricate their chocolate candies. We got more than a little practice in both techniques. Great demo guys!!

Edited by FWED, 10 July 2005 - 12:32 AM.


Fred Rowe

#15 nightscotsman

nightscotsman
  • participating member
  • 3,068 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 10 July 2005 - 01:07 PM

Great demo -- thanks!  Do you use these nuts in any form other than whole?

View Post

Definitely. We use them at work broken up and packed around the base of caramel apples that have also been dipped in chocolate.

#16 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 671 posts

Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:02 PM

Great demo -- thanks!  Do you use these nuts in any form other than whole?

View Post

Definitely. We use them at work broken up and packed around the base of caramel apples that have also been dipped in chocolate.

View Post



Swoon!

#17 mpshort

mpshort
  • participating member
  • 37 posts
  • Location:Big Island (Hawaii)

Posted 18 July 2005 - 11:13 PM

Tried the mac nut praline paste last week and it turned out great. Going to try the candied almonds tomorrow for a petit four. :biggrin: