The invention of pralines dates back to the 17th century and is most often attributed to Clément Jaluzot, master chef to César de Choiseul, Comte du Plessis-Praslin (1598-1675).
Chef Jaluzot is said to have hit upon the idea of coating almonds with caramelised sugar, producing a sweet and crunchy treat that delighted his employer’s palate.
The new sweets soon became known as “praslines,” and various adaptations have been used in chocolate-making and pâtisserie ever since.
Jaluzot went on to open a shop in Montargis (Loiret department), where pralines are now a regional speciality.
Another version of the story claims that pralines were invented by a different cook in the employ of the Comte du Plessis-Praslin, Clement Lassange, who, after being asked by his boss to invent something new, came up with the idea after seeing one of his assistants scraping some melted sugar from the bottom of a pot.
In any event, it is the Comte du Plessis-Praslin whose name was immortalised.
When it was exported to Louisiana by French immigrants, the recipe was adapted, and today what are called “pralines” in America are an entirely different confection, made with pecans and cream. In Belgium, the term “praline” refers to filled chocolates.
Traditional pralines have many uses in chocolate-, cake- and pastry-making,
“Pralin” is a fine powder (or paste) made by grinding a mixture of caramelised almonds and hazelnuts. When this mixture is ground until the nut oils are released and a paste is formed, it is known as “pâte praliné.”
With the addition of chocolate, the mixture is simply called praliné (or pralinoise).
Praliné paste is very easy to make at home using a blender or food processor. The paste can then be used to make delicious praliné ganache, for example.
The theme for this month’s Mactweets Mac Attack Challenge is “Macarons of the Season.” And so, inspired by autumn harvests and hazelnuts, here is a recipe for macarons with smooth and velvety praliné filling.
Macarons au Praliné (Macarons with Praliné Filling)
For the shells, I used my trusty chocolate macaron recipe, reducing the cocoa powder to just one teaspoon in order to obtain a lighter colour.
To make the praliné paste, I followed this recipe from Chocolat & Caetera. The scaled-down recipe (which appears below) can easily be adapted to suit any requirements. Just remember to use equal weights of sugar and nuts.
Praliné paste recipe
- 125 grams (4.5 ounces) sugar
- 62.5 grams (2 1/4 ounces) hazelnuts
- 62.5 grams (2 1/4 ounces) almonds
- Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, mix thoroughly and place over medium heat.
- Stir until sugar is completely melted and caramelised, taking care not to scorch the hazelnuts and almonds!
- Pour the caramelised mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper (or silicone mat) and spread it out flat using a rubber spatula. Allow to cool completely until hardened.
- Break into small pieces, place in a food processor and crush into a fine powder, then process until a smooth paste is formed (about 5 minutes).
The praliné paste can now be combined with other ingredients to make the ganache.
To make the praliné ganache, I modified Chocolat & Caetera’s recipe slightly by using dark chocolate and adding cream.
- 150 grams (5 1/4 ounces) praliné paste (recipe above)
- 50 grams (2 ounces) fine chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 15 grams (1/2 ounce) butter
- 50 ml (1 3/4 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- Melt the chocolate pieces in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
- Remove from heat. Add the butter and praliné paste and mix well, then add the cream, stirring thoroughly.
- Allow the ganache to set. If necessary, place in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
This makes enough filling for two dozen macarons. When the ganache has a spreadable (not runny) consistency, it is ready to be used as a macaron filling.
Be sure bring the macarons to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
For more yummy macaron ideas, be sure to visit MacTweets.
Copyright © www.chocoparis.com. All Rights Reserved.