Learn how to make homemade French almond and hazelnut praline paste and use it on your crepes, pancakes or just eat it with a spoon (yes, it’s allowed).
Just a couple of days after my gigantic crepe cake, I’m back with the recipe of the homemade almond and hazelnut praline paste. To all of you who subscribed to my newsletter, you were lucky enough to receive it in advance so you could make it just on time for French crepes day La Chandeleur, happening today. This French tradition is to be taken very seriously in France and everyone get well prepared to enjoy crepes with friends and/or family.
Now let’s come back to the recipe: a praline paste. What is it exactly? Is it a sort of nut spread? A sort of chocolate-hazelnut spread? Well, it’s not far from these two recipes but not quite the same at the same time. Let me explain. A basic nut spread consists in pulsing the nuts (whatever kind you go for) in a food processor until you get a paste/butter, with no-added ingredients except maybe a pinch of salt. The chocolate-hazelnut spread combines toasted nuts and melted chocolate in a food processor with other ingredients such as milk/cream and sugar.
The so-called praline paste is somehow halfway between both recipes! It’s a delicacy used as a base in many French pastries, consisting of caramelized nuts mixed in a food processor until they form a smooth paste. The classic recipe involves almonds and hazelnuts, although you sometimes find recipes using hazelnuts only. Both versions are possible, and if you go for one type of nuts, simply double the quantities so you end up with the right proportions.
With just 3 ingredients (and water) you can create a little magic. Start with the syrup with water and sugar heated to a temperature of 245°F/118°C. You will need a cooking temperature to make sure you reach the right temperature. Once ready, add all the nuts at once and keep stirring and stirring again. At first you will see the nuts coated with a white sugar mixture, and while continuing stirring the mixture will turn into a caramel. As soon as your caramel is ready, transfer the nuts with the caramel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Be careful not touching any nut at this point; it’s extremely hot!
Let cool completely and once the nuts are ready to handle, break down all the pieces with your hands or with a knife and transfer the whole thing in a strong food processor. Start mixing until the magic happens and you get a thick smooth praline nut paste. Pour into a jar and enjoy as a topping onto every possible sweet treat, crepes being my favorite way to enjoy it when not directly from the jar with a spoon!
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon (100g) water
- 2 cups (300g) whole hazelnuts
- 2 cups (300g) whole almonds
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pour water and sugar in a non-stick pan with a heavy bottom and bring to boil until 245°F (118°C), using a cooking thermometer to measure properly.
- Lower the heat and add whole hazelnuts and almonds at once, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula. At first, sugar will become white and coat the nuts, and while continuing stirring it will progressively turn into a caramel. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the nuts are caramelized, transfer to the prepared baking sheet in en even layer and let cool completely.
- Gently break down the nut pieces, place into a strong food processor and pulse. At first you will obtain a thin, sandy texture. Continue pulsing until it tuns into a paste, about 15 minutes.
- Pour into one or two jars, and serve onto crepes, pancakes, waffles, or simply with a spoon!