There are many recipes for pralinés, more or less complicated. This one is my favorite, but not the easiest.
It’s the recipe of Philippe Conticini, where the nuts are not roasted but slowly cooked, directly in the syrup. This allows their flavors to develop slowly during the caramelization process, which gives the praliné its amazing taste. This recipe is similar to (yet simpler than) the traditional original one.
- Wooden turner
- Food processor with S-blade
- Silicone mat
- 200 g Granulated sugar
- 50 g Mineral water
- 150 g Almonds Raw, with skin
- 150 g Hazelnuts Raw, with skin
- 2 g Fleur de sel French sea salt
- Place the water and the sugar in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
- Control the temperature until it reaches 116°C.
- Add the nuts off the heat and stir energetically with the wooden turner.
- Cook on medium heat and stir continuously (to avoid burning the nuts) with the wooden turner. The sugar will crystallize and become white after a few minutes, due to the air incorporated while stirring and the small "impurities" present on the nuts.
- After a few minutes it will start to caramelize. Continue cooking and stirring.
- Stop cooking when all the nuts become shiny, evenly covered with caramelized sugar and with a nice auburn (dark golden) color.
- Transfer them on a silicone mat and spread them. Add the fleur de sel
- Let them cool for 30 mintes.
- Once the nuts are cooled mix them with the food processor until getting a paste. Do it in 3 to 4 times, with small breaks in between, to avoid overheating the mixture, which may alter the taste of the praliné.
- This may take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the power of your food processor.
In the recipe above I gave the proportions of nuts to prepare a hazelnuts/almonds praliné. You can use the same recipe and replace the hazelnuts/almonds to prepare many other pralinés such as:
- pecan nuts/almonds praliné: use 200g of pecan nuts and 100g of almonds
- pure pistachios praliné with: use 300g of pistachios
- pure walnuts praliné: use 300g of walnuts
- pure hazelnuts praliné: use 300g of hazelnuts
- pure almonds praliné: use 300g of almonds
All the nuts have to be used raw. As for the texture, I prefer to have a “rustic” praliné, not very smooth, a bit crunchy.
It’s important to stir the nuts during the caramelization process otherwise they would burn. It’s also important to stop the cooking at the right time: as soon as the nuts are shiny, evenly caramelized with a nice auburn color. Stopping too early would result in a very sweet praliné (as the sugar would not have caramelized properly/enough). Overcooking would result in a very bitter praliné.
Once ready, you can store your praliné in glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one month, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
You can add your praliné to a pastry cream, or to prepare crunches for entremets/petits gateaux, or used plain.