Praline Paste is a wonderful little ingredient that isn’t seen a lot here in the U.S.A. but you will find it a lot in Europe. It’s a combination of roasted nuts (especially Hazelnuts), sugar and a little bit of oil that is similar to Nutella, but without the cocoa. It’s a perfect as a filling for crepes and many other desserts. For example, Disney Cruise Line uses it to add depth to its Pumpkin Cheesecake.
We’re going to show you how to make it in your own kitchen!
The first step in creating your Praline Paste is deciding exactly what type of nuts you want to use for the base. Traditionally, hazelnuts are what you begin with. You can also decide to add Almonds and/or Pecans.
It’s completely up to you!
For our version, we’re going with a 50/50 mix of Hazelnuts and Almonds.
Roast ’em up!
Once you’ve decided on which nuts you’ll be using for your Praline Paste, it’s time to give them a quick roast. This is done for a couple of reasons. The roasting allows you to peel the skin off of the Hazelnuts easily. It also brings forward the oils located within the nuts themselves.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and place your selected nuts on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 8 minutes at 350ºF until you see the Hazelnut skins begin to crack, like in the picture above. Remove and allow to cool until you can handle them with your hands.
Peel ’em up!
Time now to get the skins off of our Hazelnuts. Place them in a clean dish towel or paper towel and give them a quick rub. The skins should begin to fall off fairly easily like in the above photo. You can then remove the rest of the skins individually.
Try to remove as much of the skins as possible. However, it’s okay if you can’t get them all removed. It won’t effect the end product.
Sweeten ’em up!
Now it’s time to add the sweetness to balance out the savoriness the nuts provide. We do this by creating a simple Caramel. Add the sugar and water to a large pan over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Give it a few more stirs until the sugar melts and begins to bubble, like in the photo below.
Once it begins to bubble, you’ll mostly want to leave the sugar alone and let the heat do its thing. Just keep and eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find the sugar should begin to, sort of, re-crystalize while it’s cooking, you can rectify it by carefully giving the sugar a vigorous stir which will break it back down.
- If you’ve read this blog in the past, you know I often recommend you be very careful with hot oil. I’m going to double that warning with hot sugar. It can reach very high temperatures. It will also stick to your skin if it lands on it. A combination for a nasty burn. As always, I’m not trying to frighten you away from making these dishes. I’m just trying to remind you to be cautious.
Gradually the sugar will morph into a beautiful amber color like in the picture above.
Nut ’em up!
Once the caramel is done cooking, you’ll want to remove it from the heat and quickly add the roasted nuts. Carefully give them a stir until the nuts are completely covered with the sauce. Then immediately pour the Nut and Caramel mixture carefully on to a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
Carefully spread the Caramel and Nut mixture evenly on the baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
- If you think the result of these last few steps looks like a nut brittle; you’re absolutely right. As a matter of fact, you may want to make extra just to keep in it’s brittle form because it is delicious.
Blend ’em up!
Now that your nut brittle has cooled (and you’re done snacking on it because it’s delicious) you’ll want to break it up into small pieces and add them to a blender with a little peanut or vegetable oil.
Purée the mixture, adding more oil as necessary, until the Praline Paste reaches your desired consistency. I like mine very smooth so I ran it through the blender for a little bit extra time. However, you may like it more “crunchy” style.
It’s yours. Make it how you like it!
Once the Praline Paste reaches your preferred consistency, pour it into an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator and used in your favorite recipe for up to 7 days.
Praline Paste Recipe
Makes approximately 1 cup
- 1/2 cup – Raw Hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup – Raw Almonds
- 1 cup – Sugar
- 1/4 cup – Water
For the Praline Paste
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Place the Hazelnuts and Almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 5 to 8 minutes at 350ºF
- Remove and allow the nuts to cool slightly
- Once cooled, place the roasted Hazelnuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub until the skins begin to fall off. Remove the remaining skins by hand.
- Pour Sugar and Water into a large pan on medium-high heat. Carefully stir until the sugar has melted
- Continue to cook the Sugar until it turns amber in color
- Carefully add the Hazelnuts and Almonds and carefully stir to coat the nuts
- Place the coated nuts on a silicone mat or parchment paper and allow to cool completely
- Once cooled, place the Nut and Sugar mixture in a blender and purée until smooth. You can add a little peanut or vegetable oil to help create the desired texture
- Completed Praline Paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week