In honor of our amazing visit to New Orleans and especially a thank you to our gracious hosts at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, I just had to share with you one of the many special local treats; the Praline that The Ritz-Carlton offers in it’s Club Level, a hotel within the hotel. The club level offers unsurpassed service that includes “continuous culinary offerings daily. Complimentary wine, beer and cocktails. A dedicated concierge staff on hand to personalize your stay, a 24-hour ‘grab and go’ station for your convenience, and a remarkably spacious layout including a salon, library and parlor, plus a 24-hour Business Center”.
The warm and welcoming guest rooms transport you to the beautiful garden district with the well-appointed and thoughtful design, expansive windows and a large comfortable bath area featuring imported rose marble. Another unique feature of the club level is your private elevator that takes you right down to street level with The French Quarter only steps away. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans has a level of service you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere, and if you need absolutely anything, just ask your concierge. And if he or she doesn’t have it, you can be assured that they will make it happen. Southern charm and hospitality doesn’t get lost in this great hotel in this great city. This is The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.
The Praline’s history is a big foggy, but it can be traced back to 17th century France. It’s a common belief that Pralines were introduced to the United States in about 1727 by the Ursuline Nuns who came to New Orleans. In Europe the almond was much more abundant, but in the south this was not the case, and over the years pecans were adopted as the nut of choice. The evolution of this confection that also has Creole influences is truly a southern treat with a very interesting history. So what better confection to offer for the holidays ? The following recipe is so easy, but be warned-you really need a candy thermometer. This takes the guess work out of the equation. Please use caution, this is a very hot mixture.
1 ½ Cups cane sugar
½ Cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. Unsalted butter
½ Tsp. Fine Sea salt
2 Tsp. Molasses
2 Tbs. Bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)
1 Cup Lightly toasted Pecans
Heat your oven to 325F and toast the pecans on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until you smell them, remove and cool. Place the pecans in a bowl, keep the baking sheet at the ready to pour the hot Praline mix onto it.
In a medium to large saucepan combine all of the rest of the ingredients. Stirring with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. The temperature will hold steady here for a few minutes, keep an eye on it because when the mixture reaches a certain point the temperature will rise rapidly. When you reach 240f remove the thermometer and add the pecans stirring rapidly for about 2 minutes. Next spoon dollops of the mixture onto the foil lined sheet. Cool completely and that’s it. I promise this will be a favorite, but make the servings small, this stuff is addicting. Happy New Year !