Emeril’s Pecan Pralines

Pecan Pralines

Centuries ago French settlers brought this nut-and-sugar candy to Louisiana, where sugar cane and pecans were plentiful. In the 19th century, chefs in New Orleans added cream to thicken it to the consistency of fudge. For an authentic recipe, we turned to New Orleans’ legendary Chef Lagasse.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing sheets
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with butter. Set a small serving spoon nearby — you will need this in easy reach when you are ready to portion out pralines.

Add the 1/4 cup butter, both sugars, salt, cream, and corn syrup to a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer attached to it and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until the sugars dissolve. Continue to cook, without stirring, until it reaches 246 degrees with a candy thermometer, about 3 minutes; stirring can cause the sugar to crystallize.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Add the pecans and vanilla, and, using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture vigorously until thickened and the nuts are suspended, about 2 minutes. Working as quickly as you can, portion the pralines with the spoon onto the prepared pan. Let cool completely before serving. Store pralines individually wrapped in waxed paper in an airtight container. These are best served the day they are made but will keep for up to 2 days. After that, their smooth shiny surface will become more granular, although the taste is just as delicious. Crumbled “old” pralines make a great topping for ice cream!

from Essential Emeril, p. 285


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