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Pecan Pralines: A Lasting Pecan Tradition by Danny Fox
Did you know that pralines have been around for more than 300 years? This timeless confection has been a part of thousands of family meals, official meetings, and romantic dinners since the early 1600s.
The praline was believed to originate from the court of a certain Marshal de Plessis-Plaslin in Montargis, France. His cook, Clement Lassagne, was credited with making the first pralines. How he thought of it and for what reason he made these pralines are still not known. These questions remain a source of controversy and interesting theories. There are stories which say that the chef should not be credited with the creation of this delicious concoction of sugar and almonds. It is rumored that one evening he saw his children trying to caramelize almonds taken from the kitchen. Another version says it was a kitchen boy who made the first discovery that coating almonds with melted sugar resulted in a delectable treat. Whoever the creator was and whatever the story, the Marshal de Plessis-Plaslin was an enthusiastic patron of pralines. Some say he ate pralines almost daily to aid his digestion. More imaginative individuals claim that these sugar treats were used for a second interesting purpose: wooing the different ladies he visited.
By the 1700s, pralines had become so much a part of French cuisine that the initial French settlers to the Americas brought the recipe with them. Pecans were used instead of the usual almonds since pecans were already growing in abundance in the southern areas where the French chose to reside. The same basic ingredients with pecans and a little cream or milk in a pan over the stove, and pecan pralines were born.
In the Americas, pecan pralines became a specialty of the Creole African-American women. These women became known as pralinieres, vending pecan pralines on the streets during the evenings. As early as 1715, the Southern pecan pralines were already recognized in print for their delightful taste. By the mid-1700s, they had already established a place as one of the Southern dessert favorites.
Through the years, many different variants of pecan pralines have developed. Different ingredients have been added to the basic praline recipe. Bourbon, rum, fruits, marshmallows, and cream have all added that extra spice to make each pecan praline a distinctive treat. Aside from its most common form as candy, pecan pralines can now be poured over desserts when warm, sprinkled on top of sweets when cold, or used as a filling for cakes and other pastries when powdered.
Now in the twenty-first century, almost 400 years after the first praline was created, pecan pralines are a classic Southern tradition. A meal in Louisiana, Texas, or Georgia would not be complete without this delectable dessert. Pecan pralines have become so ingrained in the South that tourists who flock to this area need to have a taste of this sweet before they can fully say that they have been to the South. A meal in Louisiana, Texas, or Georgia would not be complete without this delectable dessert. Pecan pralines are truly a lasting tradition in Southern cuisine.
For a taste of the classic pecan praline, visit Tanner's Pecans and Candies. You'll be raving about their pecan pies and other sweets.
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