National Pralines Day is observed annually on June 24th. This day honors the praline, a confection made from nuts (in whole pieces or ground) and sugar syrup.
The French settlers brought their recipe into Louisiana, an area of the United States where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful. During the 19th century, New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for almonds, added cream to thicken the confection, and thus created what is known throughout the Southern United States as the praline. Pralines are an essential part of creole cooking and culinary history in New Orleans.
In the late 1800s, free women of color known as The Praline Lady would stroll through the French Quarter with baskets of homemade pralines to sell. These women were self made entrepreneurs who used their cooking skills to make money. The money made from selling pralines allowed these women to support their families and sometimes buy the freedom of their loved ones.
Types- There are mainly three types of praline.
1) American pralines- Though it evolved from the original French Praline, almonds were replaced by pecans in the U.S. Today, pralines are made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans. Hence, it resembles a chewy cookie.
2) Belgian pralines- Also called the “soft-center Belgian chocolates,” Belgian praline doesn’t, in any way, resemble the American praline. Instead, it consists of a hard chocolate shell with a softer, liquid filling and a different combination of nuts and sugar syrup.
3) French pralines- The original version, French praline, is made with almonds and caramelized sugar. These candied almonds can be grounded into a powder called “praline.”
1) ‘Pralines and Cream’ is a popular flavor of ice cream in the U.S. and Canada.
2) In New Orleans and Louisiana, pralines are called ‘pecan candy.’
3) The world’s most expensive chocolate praline is worth $240,000. Carved by artists chocolatier Paul Wittamer and jeweler Fabienne Lascar, this chocolate praline also sports a 3.63-carat diamond.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Create your own batch with this recipe for pralines. Then, of course, you can stop by your favorite confectionery and enjoy a few with friends and family.
Use #NationalPralinesDay on social media.
Mrs. Altia “Momo” Nora Pecan Candy Recipe
- 3 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 1 stick salted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
How to Make It
Bring sugars and milk to a boil in a heavy pot, stirring often. Place a cup of water in the freezer for the cold water drop test to check for consistency. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 11 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 228° (thread stage).
Stir in butter and pecans; cook, constantly stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 235° (softball stage). To test for the softball stage, get the cold water cup from the freezer, drop a bit of candy into the cup, with your finger and push the candy around into a ball. If it shapes and stays, then it’s ready. If not, cook a little more, keeping a close eye on the temperature. DO NOT PASS 236, or they will not be the right texture and consistency.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Quickly drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto buttered marble countertop/slab, foil, wax paper, or parchment paper; let stand until firm.
THESE PICTURES REFLECT MY TRIP TO MINNESOTA, AND I DIDN’T HAVE MY MAGNALITE POT, BUT IT CAME OUT AS IT NORMALLY WOULD. So I HAD TO BABYSIT THE POT TO AVOID BURNING MY CANDY.
Pecan Candy History
French settlers brought the recipe to Louisiana, where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful. During the 19th century, New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for almonds, added cream to thicken the confection, and thus created what became known throughout the American South as the praline.
Pralines have a creamy consistency, similar to fudge. They are usually made by combining sugar (often brown), butter, cream or buttermilk, and pecans in a pot over medium-high heat and constantly stirring until most of the water has evaporated and reached a thick texture with a brown color. This is usually dropped by spoonfuls onto wax paper, or a sheet of aluminum foil greased with butter and left to cool.