Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Celebration of Pecan Pralines!

Pecan Pralines have a rich history which dates back some 400 years.

Pralines are believed to be the invention of a French chef in service to a Count whose family name was du Plessis-Praslin (hence the anglicization of Praline) in New Orleans.  Other U.S. states or cities have attempted to claim ownership, but the recipe originated in a New Orleans kitchen.  For the fascinating, action-packed, story see the Southern Candymakers website.

Sunday June 24 is National Praline Day, but any day is a good day to devour these sweet treats.

At Beck's Cajun Cafe in Reading Terminal Market, Chef Bill likes to cook up a batch around the major holidays and Feast Days.

Believe it.

Beck's Pralines taste and smell just as good as they look in food photographer Albert Yee's gourmet photographs :)

Bill is a devotee of the famous New Orleans chef, John Besh so we're sharing Besh's easy cook recipe here.  (Note: this recipe appeared on Elle Decor's website.)


• 2 tbsp. canola oil
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups light brown sugar
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 2 cups pecan pieces
• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Set 3 sheets of waxed paper on a work surface and brush with the oil.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugars, half-and-half and butter and heat, without stirring, over medium heat to 235˚F on a candy thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in the pecans and vanilla. Working quickly, before the mixture hardens, drop by heaping tablespoon onto the oiled wax paper. Allow pralines to cool until completely set, about 30 minutes. (If the pralines flatten too much when you drop them, give the mixture 4 to 5 vigorous stirs with a wooden spoon to thicken.) Makes about 50 pralines.

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