Homemade Praliné Paste
If you follow me you probably know that praliné is one of my favorite ingredients. If you started following right now you are probably wondering what is praliné? During our culinary tours, as I begin to explain about the word Praliné, many confuse it with the word Praline, sometimes attributed to chocolates with different fillings.
Praliné is a paste made from caramelized nuts that are ground to a smooth liquid mass, or with small pieces of caramel that aren’t ground to the end. The most known praliné is the one based on hazelnuts or almonds or almonds and hazelnuts together, but basically any nut that’s caramelized and ground will be called praliné. For example, pistachio praliné, peanut praliné, pecan praliné, etc.
In French the word Praline (in the past Prasline) actually refers to one stage before the Praliné, i.e. caramelized almonds or nuts (usually hazelnut). The powder made by grinding up such caramel-coated nuts is called Pralin.
French pastry chefs and chocolatiers use praliné as one of the basic ingredients in their desserts or chocolates. In almost every chocolate or desserts collection you can find at least one product with a praliné. The praliné can be purchased from the leading chocolate companies and of course it can also be produced in an artisanal way.
Praliné is a multi-seasonal ingredient but it’s usually used in autumn and winter desserts, due to its sweetness and fat percentage. You can make sandwich cookies with it, spread it on a brioche or a croissant, combine it as a layer in a tart, in a dessert and even in donuts it can be wonderful.
Almond and Hazelnut Praliné Paste
130g whole unpeeled hazelnuts
160g caster sugar
5g Fleur-de-Sel or pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place the hazelnuts and the almonds on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, let cool. I love to leave the hazelnuts unpeeled.
2. Caramel: In a medium heavy-duty saucepan heat sugar, until it melts into a brown amber-colored liquid. Pour the caramel on a parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and let cool. Break the caramel into pieces, be careful not to get cut.
3. Prepare praliné paste: Transfer the hazelnuts, the almonds and the caramel pieces to a food processor, grind until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms. This process can take a few minutes, make sure you stop the processor every so often to scrape down the sides.
4. Pour the praliné into a clean jar and keep at room temperature for about 3 weeks (you can keep it in the fridge for more than a month).
Spread on various breads, brioches, croissants (after baking), cookies, ice cream, crepes, pancakes and most importantly – eat it with a spoon!