National Pralines Day means thoughts of Brennan’s

 

It’s perhaps the sweetest and most cordial bit of Southern hospitality in town: that tray of pralines on your way out of Brennan’s of Houston.

In honor of National Pralines Day (June 24), we say a humble thank you to Brennan’s for sending us home on a sugary high. The restaurant at 3300 Smith goes through about 1,000 pralines a day (as many as 4,000 during the holidays). The New Orleans-style confection is on the soft, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth side. And they’re available online during the cooler month at $12 for a dozen (plus shipping).

But why not get them right at the source? Just head over to Brennan’s. You know where to find them.

Here’s the restaurant’s recipe for its praline delights:

Brennan’s of Houston’s New Orleans-Style Pralines
Makes 4 dozen

1 quart whipping cream
1 pound granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 ½ cups medium chopped pecans
Zest of 1 medium orange

1. Line three cookie sheets, preferably with parchment paper, but wax paper will work. Also have dessert spoons close by to spoon the pralines onto the parchment when it’s time.
2. In a large heavy saucepan, slowly simmer cream, sugar, corn syrup, and orange zest over low heat. As cream mixture simmers, be careful of boil-over in the early stages. Let mixture reduce, stirring occasionally.
3. When cream mixture first starts to stick to bottom of pan, you need to stir almost continuously until done. As mixture reduces and the sugar starts to caramelize, the mixture becomes thicker and begins to turn light brown in color.
4. When mixture reaches the soft-ball stage of 240 degrees, stir in pecans. Continue stirring while looking for the point when mixture starts to pull away from sides of the pan.
5. Drop a small amount (quarter size) onto a lined cookie sheet. Look quickly to see if the praline runs out flat or holds a nice rounded top shape, and if the praline has a dull-looking appearance. Also, the mixture shouldn’t have an oily look while in the saucepan; that means the mixture has cooked too long.
6. When ready, the mixture should be close to a firm-ball stage of 248 degrees. However, don’t depend entirely on the candy thermometer.
7. Use two dessert spoons to spoon out the pralines onto the lined cookie sheets. Use one spoon to dip up the hot mixture and the other one to push it off into the paper.
8. You should be able to pick up a praline in about 30 minutes. It should appear dry and not be chewy. If after a couple of hours, you can’t pick one up, leave them on the pans in a cool dry area for a day or two, until they dry out.

Tips:
Use a heavy whisk or wooden spoon for stirring.
Try to not over-stir, as this lightens the color too much.
Once you place them on the wax paper, leave them alone for at least an hour.