I love the French for many reasons…their style, their bread and the fact that many settled in Louisiana bringing the praline recipe along with them. Original recipes from the 1600′s in Europe contained almonds, but French settlers adapted the recipe with pure cane sugar and pecans. There are many variations to pralines, but the New Orleans style is by far my favorite. Typically using milk, the New Orleans praline has a fudge-like texture opposed to the European or Belgian nougat.
I decided to call on the Praline Queen, my mother, for her praline version. Her recipe uses a bit of salt, which is the perfect combination to me. The rich sweetness (Hello! 5 cups of sugar AND condensed milk!) is offset with the sprinkle of salt. We’ve enjoyed this recipe my entire life, and after finally making them myself, I was pleasantly surprised to find they’re not quite an intimidating as I always imagined.
5 cups granulated sugar / 5 cups pecan halves / 1 cup butter / 1 cup milk / 1 – 14.5 oz can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk / 1 Tablespoon Salt / 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract / Wooden spoon
In a deep boiler, combine sugar, butter, milk and condensed milk. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans and stir continuously for 20 minutes. You will likely need to reduce your heat to keep the mixture for popping out on you. Make sure to stir the entire 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt and vanilla extract and beat. Let cool for only a minute or two. Then spoon onto greased (with butter) wax paper. Let cool until hardened.