Good question. Being from the South and having lived in LA, pralines certainly rate very highly for me. I guess it’s the pecans that attract me and which add so much flavor, especially if toasted.
If you think your Mardi Gras festivities require some authentic flavors I found a recipe which is easy to make and the final product tastes like the real deal. You can find it in detail at http://baking.about.com/od/candy/r/pralines.htm but basically it’s 1 quart heavy cream, 3 cups sugar, 1-1/2 pounds (approx. 6 cups) chopped pecans (toasted is best) and juice of 1 lemon. You add the pecans and lemon after the milk and sugar mixture reaches 234°F, reheat to that temp again, then use a large spoon to drop enough to make a 5 inch praline on an oiled baking sheet (tho I am planning to try parchment paper next time). Let them harden then carefully lift them off and place on a platter or in a covered container. Within an hour, I was enjoying a little Mardi Gras celebration of my own. Now, where are my beads?
Photo credit: nolaimports.com