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Old 11-12-2004, 01:27 PM   #1
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Pralines, por favor?

Tis nearing the season to start clearing the hoarded larders and make short tons of candy again. I'm particularly fond of pralines and would enjoy seeing your favorites of these, which I understand also vary across our continent. Top on my list are:

Buttermilk Pralines

3 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups chopped pecans

Butter 2 large cookie sheets and line them with waxed paper, and set aside.

In a heavy, tall-sided saucepan, run a stick of butter around the inside of the pan about four inches above the bottom to create a 2-inch wide, light “ring” of butter. (This will help keep the mixture from climbing too high, as well as to help prevent the formation of crystals on the side of the pan during boiling.)

Combine the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in the saucepan and place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer.

Attach your candy thermometer and raise the heat to medium, bringing the mixture to a rolling boil without stirring. Continue to cook, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture reaches 260 degrees (F) (hard ball stage).

Remove from heat and add the vanilla and pecans. Stir gently and slowly just until the pecans are coated. (Too much stirring can cause the candy to crystallize and become grainy, although still darned delicious.)

Drop tablespoonsful of the candy onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving space between each for spreading. Let the candy sit at room temperature until it is cool and firm (about 2-3 hours).

Peel the candies off the waxed paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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Old 11-12-2004, 05:56 PM   #2
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I may have to do some of these this year, considering Charleston is one of the 'homes' of pralines!

Do you have a recipe for chocolate ones? There's a candy store in Chaz that has THE most divine ones - the chocolate punch is to die for!
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
I may have to do some of these this year, considering Charleston is one of the 'homes' of pralines!

Do you have a recipe for chocolate ones? There's a candy store in Chaz that has THE most divine ones - the chocolate punch is to die for!
GRRRR ... I tried making pralines, and they came out all cloudy, with the little trapped bubbles. And the texture was grainy. I know it was cuz I messed up the temperature or something. Or wait, am I thinking of penuche? :roll:

Marmalady, here's Paul Prudhomme's recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pralines: http://www.recipesource.com/desserts...0/rec0065.html.

You're a Charlestonian? Some years ago, a friend gifted me with a cookbook called 'Best of the Best from South Carolina: Selected Recipes from South Carolina's Favorite Cookbooks' and boy, they aren't kidding. It's a wonderful cookbook. It's got stuff like Charleston Gumbo, Charleston Shrimp Bake, and Charleston Shrimp Breakfast. The Charleston Shrimp Breakfast calls for 'fresh white or brown creek shrimp'. I'm like: Eh? White or brown creek shrimp? You mean shrimp ain't just shrimp? The first instruction is this: 'Pick and devein shrimp while still raw. If freshly caught, head them and refrigerate for about an hour to make shelling a bit easier.' There's an instruction we don't see much here in the land-locked Blue Ridge.

Then there's a recipe for Coffee Sundae Pie, that looks sooo scrumptious. And Daufuskie Freeze, and Smothered Steak Daufuskie and Various Other Things Daufuskie ... and Shoofly Coffee Cake, Broiled Crappie with Sweet-and-Sour Dressing, Fulton Plantation Apricot Pound Cake and Cornbread with Collard Greens and Caroline Trifle and Huckleberry Pudding and Schooner Steaks and Miss Lucy's Coconut Cake, Pecan Pilaf, Mrs. Strom Thurmond's Watermelon Pie and Tidalholm Seafood Chowder and --

And WHY AM I HAVING BUNLESS HOTDOGS FOR SUPPER???
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:20 PM   #4
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LOL, Catseye! Yes, Charleston is becoming quite the restaurant town! It's always been known for its food - as a major port city, even in the 1700 and 1800's, the spice route and imports made the Charleston diet a little more 'kicked up'! Add to that the wonderful recipes from the Gullah people, descendents of the slaves who brought with them things like okra, and peanuts, and you just have some plain good cookin!

'Creek shrimp' are the shrimp that are found in the many marshes and small waterways that thread their way around the coastline here. Most everyone who lives close to the ocean has in their garage a shrimp cast net, and a crab pot, to catch their own supply. 'Heading' shrimp is one of those rather nasty tasks that not many folks know about, lol! And the little suckers sting!

The other thing that Charleston is known for is its love of 'adult beverages'; sign on a T-shirt in the tourist part of town -

"Charleston is a drinking town with a historic problem'! :D

TY for Paul's recipe! He's one of the classics, and I love his books!
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:46 PM   #5
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'Creek shrimp' are the shrimp that are found in the many marshes and small waterways that thread their way around the coastline here. Most everyone who lives close to the ocean has in their garage a shrimp cast net, and a crab pot, to catch their own supply. 'Heading' shrimp is one of those rather nasty tasks that not many folks know about, lol! And the little suckers sting!
Shrimp sting? Really? How, exactly? Boy, the things I'm learning in here ...

I dig about heading shrimp. Transplanted urbanite that I am, I never saw an unheaded shrimp in my life. But I don't get why unheaded shrimp are not more widely available, since as I understand it (from Paul P), the head holds all the flavor. Although, judging from the unheaded crawfish I've seen in the supermarket, they ain't the most appealing things in the world ...

Get it? Appealing? Peel? Gawd, I kill myself sometimes. :D
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Old 11-12-2004, 11:36 PM   #6
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I've been lucky enough to get some head-on shrimp, previously frozen, from a Chinese grocery store, of all places!

They have a spine of sorts that protrudes forward, from between the eyes. I'd hate to be "stung" by them!
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Old 11-13-2004, 07:52 AM   #7
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They do have that 'spiney' thing on the head, but also the long 'feelers' have a 'sting' to them; they're kind of rough, and if you run your hand along them they can actually 'sting'. Sorry, Catseye, I didn't mean 'sting' like a bee - meant sting like ow!

My guess is that you don't find head on shrimp more readily is because of the 'eww' factor!

If you can get some tho, be sure to save the heads (you can freeze 'em in milk cartons), because they make a wonderful stock.
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Old 11-13-2004, 08:21 AM   #8
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If you can get some tho, be sure to save the heads (you can freeze 'em in milk cartons), because they make a wonderful stock.
Yes, ma'am, they do! Nasty little stinkers, though!

Marmalady, I was kinda hoping that you had one from Charleston so I could compare it to mine -- it's a lot safer that way!!! But I'll give you mine and it's a good one. I use evaporated milk in lieu of cream, which really makes these pralines melt-in-your-mouth creamy.

Catseye, if your pralines are grainy, it is likely from bring the mixture to a boil before all the sugar is dissolved. You might try lowering your heat to medium when first combining the ingredients and stirring constantly until it reaches a full boil, then raising the temp to medium-high to continue cooking to final temp. Since you're fighting the crystalization process in making these, cooling down the mixture before beating is also critical.

Chocolate Pralines

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups pecans (halves or chopped)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Into the saucepan, combine the sugar, brown sugar and evaporated milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugars, until the mixture begins to boil. Attach your candy thermometer to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally (I stir every 4-5 minutes) until the candy reaches 234 degrees (F).

NOTE: The mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over the entire surface. Reaching the soft-ball stage (234 degrees) will take 15-18 minutes, altitude dependent.

Remove the pan from heat and add the butter and chopped chocolate. DO NOT STIR! Set the candy aside on a wire rack to cool, undisturbed and without stirring, until the thermometer registers 150 degrees (F). This will take about half an hour. You can allow it to cool as low as 125 degrees, but you will need to reheat the mixture if it falls below that.

After cooling to 150 degrees, remove the thermometer from the pan and immediately stir in the pecans. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the candy is just beginning to thicken, but it still glossy. This should take 2-3 minutes.

Working quickly, drop from a teaspoon onto the waxed paper, the store in an airtight container at room temperature.

If the candy becomes too stiff to drop, you can stir in a few DROPS of boiling water and stir to incorporate, but do this a few drops (4-5) at a time to avoid ruining the stuff.
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Old 11-14-2004, 10:01 AM   #9
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Audeo -- Many thanks for your advice on how to fix my grainy pralines. I've put a note in my dessert folder. :)
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Old 11-14-2004, 10:04 AM   #10
 
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Audeo, I love pralines! Stealthily adding this version of pralines to my collection of praline recipes..... :twisted:
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