Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Guarantee It {pecan pralines}

I have been to New Orleans exactly once.
And it was so long ago, that Emeril had a last name
I had made the trip with my brother and a friend, for a wedding reception
at the then, brand new, NOLA
I sorta remember that Gwyneth Paltrow was a guest at the reception and was aloof
It could be a made up memory. Albeit believable.
As it happens, it was April and Jazz Fest was in full swing.
 I don't even like Jazz
Actually, I kinda hate it
I like a melody
which is definitely not Jazz
 Jazz Fest is amazing
 and thankfully
the music is varied
and the food
oh -the -food

beignets, apple pie on the griddle, po'boys, mufflalata, gumbo

made me want to grab Justin Wilson and kiss him smack on the mouth

of all the things I discovered, my favorite bar none, are
I like to pronounce it prawlines
(i was in fact born in the south)
makes me feel all warm inside

say it with me
and then get in the kitchen and make some
you won't be disappointed
I Guarantee It

Pecan Pralines
(printable recipe)
1 quart heavy cream
3 cups white sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 lbs toasted pecans
1 Tbs+1tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
In a heavy bottomed pan, stir together the cream, sugar and salt. Place on low to med-low heat and pop in a candy thermometer.  Cook until thermometer reaches 234 degrees F.  The wait between 220 and 234 is lengthy..don't be tempted to up the heat to make it happen faster.  You can pretty much leave it alone until it reaches 220, at 220, stay in the kitchen checking on it frequently.  When it hits 230, watch it and start stirring, it will start to change colors at this point and you want to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. There will be brown bits, but just mix them in.  Stir, stir, stir.  When it hits 234, remove the thermometer and add the lemon juice, vanilla, butter and pecans. Stir to incorporate, then pop the thermometer back in and bring the temp back to 234. It will go a bit faster this time, keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom.  When it hits 234, spoon it out in dollops (i use a soup spoon), but you can make them as big or small as you like.  There are a lot of pecans in this, so make sure you get a nice mix of the caramelly goodness with it, so they will stick together.  Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets, or aluminum foil that has been sprayed or greased lightly. One batch will make about 50 moderately sized pralines.
They will look like caramel until you cool them. As they cool and sit, they will begin to get a bit cloudy. That is a good thing. You are not looking for chewy here.
Let cool for a few hours.  They will keep for quite a while if you keep them in an airtight container in a dry place. 
Please, do not put in the fridge.


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