NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Finally, a day we can celebrate something already celebrated daily in Louisiana!
The tasty, creamy, sweet confections we know and love, pralines became a part of Louisiana's food culture in the late 1700s, when the French were occupying the state.
Back then they were made with almonds, but once the Frenchmen realized there was an abundance of sugar cane and pecan trees they altered the treat, deviating from the almonds that were typically used. Finally, they added cream to the base and, voila! The creamy caramelized confections we praise today were born.
Hope Joseph first began making her own version of the treat when her mother challenged her to master the recipe. After a series of trials and errors, Hopie, as her friends call her, now stands up with the best of them with her Sweetie's Creamy Pralines. The name comes from a nickname her son used to be called. Her son is her biggest critic.
“He goes around tasting each of the competitors’ pralines and comes back and says, ‘Mom, this is what’s going on out there,’” Hope says.
Hope attributes her divine pralines to a secret ingredient she did not share with me, and the old fashioned way of making them – stirring them nonstop for 25 minutes.
“There’s a special ingredient that we use, that I can’t show you today,” she says. “If I show you, you’ll have to stick with me. You’ll have to quit News with a Twist.”
There are several machines these days that will now stir your cream, stick of butter, 2 cups of sugar, cup of pralines, and dash of salt for you until it thickens, but Hope argues that the best pralines are made from stirring by hand for 25 minutes.
The key is to not let them stick to the pan. Lastly, use parchment paper over wax for best results when removing because the wax will stick to your dessert, and nobody wants that!