What is Praliné?
To understand what a Praliné is, we must first look at the vocabulary around this word. There are indeed 3 very similar words and yet, not to be confused : the Praline, the Pralin and the Praliné.
“Praline” is a confection made from roasted almonds coated with caramelized sugar and eventually food color (i.e: Praline Rose from Lyon)
“Pralin” is made from roasted, caramelized and ground almonds and hazelnuts. It’s in powder form and can be used in baking. It’s a step before praliné paste.
“Praliné paste” is derived from pralin. After another fine grinding to smoth the powder into paste, Praliné paste is used a lot in confections. Most of the time, the Chocolatier will add dark or milk chocolate to make the paste more “solid” and will then enrobe it in chocolate. A lot of pastries are also using various grades of praliné paste either almonds, hazelnuts or combined and then mixed with cream such as in “Paris Brest”.
For the recipe of the Praliné, as for the Praline or Pralin, the roasting is required from the first step.
However, there are 2 ways of making Praliné.
The first one uses cooked sugar. In other terms, caramel is first obtained by cooking a mixture of sugar and water. The dried fruits are then added to the mixture to continue cooking them in a syrup.
At the Manufacture Cluizel in Damville (Normandy), we prefer to slow process starting with dry sugar. The dried fruits are added right from the beginning with granulated sugar for a slow cooking in copper cauldrons.
After this step, we wait until the sugar coats perfectly the fruits and crystallizes. We adjust the cooking of the caramel to the final taste we want to achieve. Then, we pour it on a tray to cool at room temperature. When cooled down, we break it and use first granite rolls. At that step, it's magic, the mix is transformed little by little into a thick paste. We then use another multi rolls to obtain a smoother texture if desired.
The differences in taste and texture are obtained by different caramelizations / roastings and differences in grinding or mixing (more or less fine). For example, the old-fashioned praline is a more traditional 'crunchier" method. The mixture is thicker and less finely ground, with more pieces of hazelnuts and almonds for a more rustic taste and texture.
Now let's look at how to store the Praliné to make the pleasure last as long as possible.
The best way to store it is in an airtight glass jar, previously scalded. Keep your jar in a cool, dry place, away from light and you're done! Your Praliné can be kept for several weeks or even months. For a Praliné bought in a shop, respect the best by date indicated on the packaging
Now, you know everything! I hope you found this article interesting. Feel free to share your expertise with your family and friends.