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.