Living in the New Orleans area, we are so blessed with a huge variety of great things to eat. Choosing favorites is difficult, but there are definitely some restaurants that I immediately think of when asked, “where the best place is to eat around here”. Muriel’s on Jackson Square is definitely in my top 10! It’s right across from St. Louis Cathedral, you can look out the window to see the artists selling art on the square and it has haunted stories complete with a red room upstairs. Oh, and the food; it’s wonderful. I am never disappointed and always content after a meal there.
This week, my son had a school project that was to find and cook a cherished family recipe that had a New Orleans theme. This left me scrambling this weekend to find something easy (just in case he had to do it in class) and tasty. We searched through many of my grandmother’s recipes that I remember having as a child, as well as cooking for my children. It’s almost like looking through old family pictures; they are hard to put down. So many memories are attached to each one.
We finally settled on “Ponchartrain Pralines”, courtesy of Maw Maw Kerwin. I’ll post it here for you to enjoy as well 🙂
Pontchartrain Pralines (small batch)
- 5 oz. can evaporated milk
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 6 oz. bag pecan pieces
- 2 tsps. butter
- Combine evaporated milk, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat stirring frequently.
- Once boiling, lower heat to medium and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until mixture has a consistency of molasses and is glossy, thick and bubbly…234 degrees.(make sure to stir frequently or bottom will burn)(this is also called the “soft ball” stage ie: when a small amount is dropped in a cup of water it forms a soft ball)
- Remove from heat and with a wire wisk or large spoon, stir quickly for about 2 minutes until the “glossiness” begins to dull and mixture thickens slightly.
- Add pecan halves and continue stirring until pecans are coated and mixture thickens a little more.
- Spoon mixture onto greased pan or wax paper in approx. 3 inch circles.
- Allow pralines to harden at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Enjoy!
In New Orleans, the technique one uses to boil crawfish is an art form. In our family, my brother is the designated “boiler”.
His technique is highly structured and unchangeable! Suggestions are not taken kindly…. He knows what to add, how much, and how long to do it. He also has some quirky must-do’s. The result of all of this madness is pure poetry! No complaints when we get to enjoy this: