This is my first two part post! It started out as just the other treat I'm making and realized one of the ingredients for it I would have to make, and might be worth posting about in it's own right. I'll post about the finished product later in the week.
Pralin though, I've spent plenty of time in the south and pralines to us are a candy. Cream, butter, and sugar cooked together until creamy and solid with pecans. However this American version has roots in the French pralin, brought over through Louisiana. The french version is slightly different. Caramelized sugar, water added to keep it from burning, but that evaporates, and toasted almonds.
The paste version I am referring to is the almonds and sugar pulverized to make essentially caramelized almond butter. Julia recommends grinding it to a coarse powder but looking around online it looks like grinding it until it releases the oils and is a butter is good too. And I assumed it would be smoother in the filling.
My blender wasn't powerful enough to take it past the powder point on it's own, I added half a tsp of vegetable oil and left it grinding and it did eventually turn in to a paste. You can see from the picture it's a very thick one, which was better for the end filling to keep it's shape.
I also found it tasted better the next day, the flavor was more well rounded and you could really taste the caramel. So if you can, make it a day in advance.
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. water
Pre-heat your oven to 350. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking pan and place in the oven until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. Watch carefully, the nuts burn quickly.
Meanwhile heat the water and sugar over medium high heat. Don't stir the liquid, but swirl lightly if it looks darker in spots. When the liquid is a dark amber color pour over the cooked almonds and allow to cool.
When the sugar is completely cool remove from the pan and break up in to smaller pieces and place in a high powered blender and blend until a fine powder.
The praline can be used now or drizzle in a little oil while blending to make a paste. I've used both canola and coconut and both turned out well.
|Original Picture - Post Updated 1/1/2019|