As originally inspired in France at the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte by the cook of the 17th-century sugar industrialist Marshal du Plessis-Praslin (1598-1675), early pralines were whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar, as opposed to dark nougat, where a sheet of caramelized sugar covers many nuts.
French settlers brought this recipe to Louisiana, where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful. During the 19th century, New Orleans chefs substituted pecans for almonds, added cream to thicken the confection, and thus created what became known throughout the American South as the praline.
One of the many praline stores in New Orleans is located in the French Quarter. I visited Laura’s Candies over the weekend.
Business was brisk, the weather was hot and humid and all was good with the world. Last night I watched Spikes new doc on New Orleans. Tonight, part two will include the Gulf oil spill. It’s on HBO, catch it if you can.