I made pralines two months ago for the first time. I had the idea to give a personalized pralines box to every member of the family for Christmas – filled with what they love. I used white chocolate and coconut, marzipan and pistachios, dark chocolate and orange and similar combinations. Of course, my pralines never made it to becoming gifts – most were eaten a couple of days before Christmas, so I eventually mixed them all up and placed on a tray with the other cookies :)
I thought that for the first time it was safer to use a firmer filling so I made a thick cream and used marzipan. Indeed, it is easier because chocolate nicely fills the gaps around the cream balls embedded in a ‘cup’ of chocolate. Liquid filling is a little tricky because the top layer of chocolate that is thick and heavy displaces the liquid so one should be really careful. I had such a problem now, with the caramel sauce.
Several things are important and useful to know when making pralines:
1. The most practical is to make them in silicone molds. There’s some to buy in stores, and the prices are pretty reasonable. On eBay they can be found at 2 pounds, so that is much more afordable. Another option are those little baskets for mignons, but it is better to buy aluminium ones cause they won’t lose shape when you pour chocolate.
2. Chocolate pralines should be made with 70% cocoa or white chocolate. Well, now, you should temper the chocolate to make it regain its original form after melting and cooling (solid, shiny, chrisp and does not melt under your fingers.) Since most of us do not have a food thermometer, for starters it is enough just to be careful not to overheat the chocolate and to let it cool down before you go to work with it. Read more about this topic here.
3. From experience, if they don’t look so great (like mine on these pictures), they are still delicious and your dear friends will still appreciate your efforts :)
So, here’s the recipe for caramel filled pralines.
- 200 g owhite sugar
- 150 ml heavy cream
- 10 g of butter
- For 12 pralines you need about 125 g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- Put the sugar in a bowl, preferably with a light bottom to better see the color of caramel, pour the sugar and heat over low heat. The sugar will slowly melt, stir it until it becomes a dark golden liquid.
- This is very, very hot, do not touch the caramel with your fingers!
- Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the caramel slowly - as you pour it the mixture will foam and spray, and maybe a part of the caramel will turn into a ball - it does not matter, just continue to cook until all the caramel is dissolved.
- In the end, remove from heat, stir in the butter and let it cool down. You can use it for topping ice cream, pancakes, cheesecake, panna cotta, etc.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler - chop it, put it in a saucepan on top of another with boiling water. It is important not to heat the chocolate too much, you should stirr it all the time and pull of the heat when there are still unmelted pieces. Continue to stir until all is melted.
- Now let it cool a little, stirring occasionally and try using your finger - the best is that chocolate is warm to the touch.
- Put a half a teaspoon chocolate in every hole in the mold and distribute te chocolate evently on the edges using a brush. Place in the refrigerator for 2 min to squeeze. Brush the edges three times and refrigerate each time - so you'll get a 'cup' of chocolate into which you will pour the caramel.
- Pour the caramel until about 3/4 cup and then carefully pour the final layer of chocolate. With liquid filling it is important not to have holes so make sure that the whole cup is firmly closed with chocolate.
- Leave in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and carefully remove from the mold. It is best to keep in the fridge for later. That's it - be proud of your creation :)