I used to be scared of pralines or anything caramel. In Paris I wanted to buy jars of praliné paste to take home to Barcelona. But I couldn’t – the suitcase was too full of other baking stuff. And that’s how I learnt it’s surprisingly easy to make pralines in just five to ten minutes. Really easy. It’s just almonds, sometimes hazelnuts too, added to a caramel made by boiling sugar and water. You don’t even need a sugar thermometre! It’s delicious so make double as you can’t help testing it out repeatedly even when you should save some to decorate the sides of your cake or crush in a yummy layer. The recipe will go in the basics section later but it’s being posted here first to bring it to your attention. Roll up roll up, pralines for everyone! Get your pralines here… sorry, I mean make your own, make your own! 🙂
I have a feedback request for you later and I’ll show you my 2016 ‘top ten’ (bakes, not hunks). But first the pralines. Yum. Drooling in anticipation.
There are different ways to make pralines. This method has worked for me and given me caramelised nuts that don’t weep after a day. It’s kind of sad when your caramel starts running or dribbling over your cake, so try this recipe. It’s based on Praliné (en pâte et pralin en poudre) from la Cuisine de Bernard, winner of a 2011 Golden Blog Award for best French cooking blog. The judges adored his wonderful pedagogical step-by-step recipes. He talks about his blogging since the award here (in French). Anyway, love his praliné recipe and here are the slightly adapted instructions, in English.
- 240g/8.5oz almonds with the skin (or replace 50% with hazelnuts)
- 160g (4/5 cup) granulated sugar (or 160g/3/4 cup caster sugar)
- 15ml/g water
Lightly oil a marble surface, baking tray or heat-resistant silicone mat. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan. Stir in the water so it’s mixed. Put over medium heat. And stop stirring.
Boil the sugar and water till it reaches a temperature of 121°C/250°F. Use a sugar thermometre (I used a probe one) to check the temperature or do it by eye. The bubbles should be going very fast and it should be thickening (mine also seemed to be crystallising more than Bernard’s but it worked anyway). Add the almonds in one go and stir to coat the almonds in the syrup. The sugar will crystallise, going white and lumpy.
Keep stirring. Little by little the syrup will start melting and caramelising. When all the sugar has caramelised take off the heat. Pour on your lightly-oiled surface.
Allow to cool completely before using. You can eat some as it is. Yum. Or break it up by hitting with a rolling pin.
To make pralín just whizz around in the food processor till you get a powder. Add to creams, cake batters or sprinkle on stuff.
To make praliné paste keep whizzing in the food processor. Scrape the sides down with a soft spatula occasionally. Your paste will be oily and quite dark.
Tada! Pralines, pralín powder, praliné paste or all three! And pretty easy huh?
Feedback and my top 10
A few people are making stuff from this blog. I’ve heard rumours. 🙂 No, really. I know it isn’t thousands or hundreds of bakers but it would be lovely to get feedback if you make anything from here, just a note in the comments section about what worked (or didn’t) and what adaptations you made. This helps me and anyone else who’s thinking of following the recipe. For example, I was happy (and relieved) when a reader confirmed in the comments that the spelt croissants recipe worked for them, and delighted to learn you can keep the starter détrempe in the fridge for up to 2 days! Hurray! Anyway, if you have time to comment thank you.
You might find the feedback from this blog’s WordPress stats interesting. Here are the number of views for this year’s most popular recipes so far, with some top referrers being ‘google search’ worldwide and pinterest. Instagram friends are also dropping in.
If you’re interested, here are the links:
- Neutral mirror glaze (nappage neutre)
- Citrus cotton soft Japanese cheesecake
- Italian meringue macaron shells (with supplementary notes in Spanish)
- Spelt croissants (or unspeltified)
- Pithiviers (galette des rois)
- Traditional Monas de pascua – Spanish Easter egg breads
- Swedish Princess cake
- Mojito macarons (with supplementary notes in Spanish)
- Lining a French tart ring with pastry and blind baking
- Ispahan raspberry, rose and lychee cupcakes
I suppose these recipes worked for someone and so became more popular? My references to Uncle Tetsu in my Japanese cheesecake post seem to have increased its search engine results, with punters coming over to check it out. I didn’t do that on purpose but yay! And I’m surprised at the popularity of the winner, my neutral mirror glaze recipe from the basics section. Not exactly a creative bake but I’m happy if it’s useful and some people have ‘liked’ it so maybe they’ve tried it out.
You can see I’m wondering where my recipes are going and what they’re doing. Anyway, I know my stats aren’t very high but there’s been some lovely feedback from followers, fellow bloggers, IG friends and social media generally. Thank you! Plus having the recipes on the blog is useful when I forget how something was made! Even something as simple as pralines.
Hold on. Just going to have more of that. Yum. Here, have a piece. 🙂
Well it’s time to go now. Have a lovely week ahead sweet reader. Happy baking, cooking and more eating! Crunch crunch. 🙂 Lili x