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Pecan pralines

  • Makes about 36
Pecan pralines

These wonderfully sweet little goodies are everywhere in New Orleans. They were originally made by the city's French inhabitants, so they're full of all the rich foods associated with French cooking; butter, cream and sugar. But new nuts, pecans, were also added. I first sampled them at the Louisiana Cooking School. They're tricky things to make, so invest in a sugar thermometer for guaranteed success.


  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 75 grams butter


  1. Spread the pecans on a baking tray and roast them at 150 degress Celsius for about 25 minutes until they are light golden in colour. Cool and chop roughly.
  2. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the white sugar with the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the brown sugar, cream, vanilla essence and butter and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted and the brown sugar has dissolved.
  3. Stop stirring, bring to the boil and boil until the mixture reaches soft ball stage. This is when a small amount dropped into a glass of cold water forms a small ball that is quite malleable in your fingers. It is 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 116 degress Celsius on a sugar thermometer.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir the mixture for about 2 minutes until it thickens a little. Add the pecans and stir for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Drop dessertspoonfuls of mixture onto a buttered baking tray or a tray covered with non-stick parchment paper. The pralines will be quite thin with nuts set into the fudgey mixture. Cool. Lift off and store in an airtight container.

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