Imagine a recipe that will help you enrich any other. A recipe that you prepare once and could save it for a whole year. Due to its sugar content, homemade hazelnut praline can be kept for a long time when stored in an airtight container in the fridge or in a dry, cool place.
Praliné is a unctuous paste of caramelized nuts, which is used to flavor any kind of dessert. Easy to make with only three ingredients: nuts, sugar and water.
The classic praline is composed of hazelnuts and almonds evenly, although variations can be made using 100% almonds or 100% hazelnuts, or any other dried fruit such as pistachios, pecans, walnuts… you name it.
The only important requirement is that the nuts are raw or roasted, but never, never of the fried or salted.
Let’s get cooking!
- Whether raw or toasted, you must always start the process by roasting the hazelnuts in a preheated oven to 150ºC (or 160ºC heat more or less) as hot air will intensify its flavor.
- Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the preheated oven for 30 min. if the hazelnuts are raw (and 15 minutes if they are toasted), stirring occasionally. Let them cool.
- Heat the sugar and water, on medium-high heat, without stirring, until it reaches 120ºC on the sugar thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer just count to about 6 or 7 minutes) and then remove from the fire.
- Add the roasted hazelnuts to the saucepan of the hot syrup and stir until the sugar crystallizes and forms a white layer on the hazelnuts.
- Return the saucepan to the heat stirring all the time, until the sugar melts and turns into a clear caramel.
- Pour over a baking sheet covered with baking paper and let it cool completely
- Break into pieces and grind in a food processor until a shiny and unctuous paste is formed, and the hazelnuts have released their oils.
Over time the hazelnut oils usually rise to the surface, but this is not a problem. Simply remove the praline to restore its original texture.
When you have your Praline ready you can use it practically in all your sweet recipes. It harmonizes perfectly with chocolate, coffee, vanilla, fruits like apple, pear, orange, strawberries … with almost everything you can think of. Here are some ideas:
– In a butter cream to cover your cupcakes
– In the pastry cream to fill a few éclairs
– In the dough of any sponge cake
– Can be used to flavor ice cream based on English cream
– Added to a ganache to cover a cake or fill chocolates