Pralines were originally made in France with almonds, but due to a shortage of almonds in Louisiana, pecans were substituted. Early pralines were also made using molasses and cream along with sugar and pecans.
Also here is a copy of a recipe for pralines made with molasses from www.cooks.com.
|JUANITA'S ORIGINAL CREOLE PECAN|
2 lbs. cane sugar
1 lb. shelled pecans
3 tbsp. molasses
1 oz. pure vanilla
1 c. water
1 candy thermometer
Put sugar, water, molasses in 6 quart saucepan, stir on high heat, bring to boil and cook until 240 degrees (soft ball). Shut heat, put in pecans and vanilla. IMPORTANT: Rub some of liquid on inside pan until creamy, about 1 minutes. Do this 3 times and scrape back into liquid with knife. You are ready to pour.Put wax paper about 3 feet long (2) over newspaper on table. Dip out silver dollar size pralines until empty. Makes about 4 dozen. Let cool and peel from wax paper.
In To Save a Lady, the hero, Jesse, buys some to tempt Elise into having dinner with him.
Here's an excerpt of the scene beginning with Elise:
"My duty as a messenger has ended. The gentleman I represent is unwilling to take further risk.”
“Good,” Jesse said. As far as he was concerned, it had never been necessary to put a woman at risk. He set aside his glass and told her about Agent Peter Banes. “He was after you, and I apologize that I almost failed you.”
“That is unnecessary. You did not fail me or your country.” The breeze whipped the hood of the cloak against her face. “I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope your army is victorious.”
He wished he knew of some charming remark to say that would bring her rushing across the threshold and into his arms. But he had never been good at that sort of thing. Not like Bonnard. He hadn’t been born with an innate charm.
“I’d like for you to stay and join me for dinner.” Either straightforward worked or it didn’t. “The wine is very good, and the bread is fresh. I also have your favorite. Pralines.”
“Oh! Pralines,” she gasped with delight. “In that case, I must stay.”
She flew across the threshold, and his jaw dropped.
“I certainly can’t eat all this myself.” He snatched the linen covering off the dish and revealed four confections that carried the rich scent of pecans and molasses. Now, all he had to do was figure out how to become as irresistible as a praline.
“And I brought some fruit.” He uncovered an apple and grapes. “A German merchant had smoked venison. He let me taste a sample and it is delicious. I have plenty of butter for the bread.”
She let out a long sigh of delight. All he could see within the confines of her deep hood was the sparkle of the mask she wore. She touched the white tablecloth. “This is so thoughtful of you.”
“Shall we try the bread?” He reached for the knife, his heart slamming against his chest.
You can get a copy of To Save a Lady on sale for 99 cents from 2/16-2/20/15 http://amzn.to/1tz2HIq