Praline Paste

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Written by Ben

Have you ever smelt fresh and still hot praline paste ?
When I was cooking it, the sugary smell of hot caramel and roasted nuts brought me back to when my family would go to the annual fair of our small town.  The smell came from small trucks that sold a variety of different candies and sweets. My mom didn’t like the idea of eating a lot of sugar since she was constantly worried about her fat but my dad bought every time some crunchy and sweet caramelized peanut.
Anyway, I made some praline paste because I need it to make a double chocolate birthday cake.

For 400 g of praline paste, you need:
– a scale
– a pan for your oven to roast nuts if you want
– a thermometer. You can do it without one.
– a skillet with a thick bottom.
– a spatula resistant enough to extreme heat or a wooden spoon.
– parchment paper or silpat or something to put the hot caramelized nuts on for cooling.
– a food processor.
– a good sponge and hot water to clean your dishes.

Recipe:
– 240 g of nut. I used 120 g of hazelnut and 120 g of almond.
– 160 g of sugar.
– 15 g of water.
– some vanilla extract or coming from a bean if you want.

Roast the nut on a pan in your oven on 150-160° C for around 20 mins. I suggest you to watch constantly your roasting nut. It is too late when you are doing something else and you are starting to smell the burnt.
After let them cool enough you can peel them with your hands if you are courageous.

Put sugar, water and vanilla in the skillet and cook it on your stove on medium heat (or small heat depending of your stove’s size).
Use your thermometer and when it reaches 121° C, turn off the heat.
Without thermometer, you will know it will be done when big bubbles are foaming and the syrup is getting thick (but still clear)

Put the nuts in the syrup, stir them and the sugar would crystallize.
Put it again on the stove on medium heat and keep stirring till it turns light brown. You can let it turn into dark brown if you want a stronger taste but careful to not burn your caramel.

Put the caramel on silicone paper or silpat or parchment paper to let the caramel cool down and harden.
Now you made at least something beautiful as the picture above.
Cut it into pieces and put it in your food processor.
You will first get a powder and the oil of the nut will come out and change the powder into a paste.

Put your finger into the paste and eat some as it is but personally I prefer it when it rested for several hours.

You can store it several months in the fridge.

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