The Interesting History Of The Pecan Praline (2024)

Pecan pralines are certainly one of our favorite candies using pecans. Their rich, decadent flavor makes it hard to eat just one. Pecan pralines are a Southern staple and a treat you must always enjoy when visiting New Orleans. However, have you ever wondered where these popular candies come from? Well they have a very interesting history.

The Origins Of The Praline

The Interesting History Of The Pecan Praline (1)

The original praline was invented in France in the 17th Century. The Praline is named after César duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin, a French diplomat. No one is really sure who the original inventor of the praline is, but many believe it was Plessis-Praslin’s personal chef Clement Lassagne. The first pralines were made with a combination of caramel and almonds. Plessis-Paslin would give these treats in bundles marked with his name to his prospective lovers. The pralines were so delicious, they soon became very popular in Europe. The recipe was brought to other countries that created different versions that include chocolate and nut pastes.

Introduction To New Orleans

In 1727, the praline was introduced in New Orleans by French settlers. It was brought by Ursine nuns who helped young women prepare for marriage. As part of their training, the nuns taught these women to make pralines from scratch. However, almonds were very rare in New Orleans at the time. So they decided to use the locally-grown Louisiana pecans. As these women started making pecan pralines, the candy grew in popularity and spread across the region.

The Pralinères

As pralines grew in popularity, women began selling them on the streets of New Orleans. Popular during the 19th Century, these women became known as the Pralinères. Pralinères were usually women that came from poverty or women of color. Selling pralines gave these women an opportunity to make money during a time when most people would not hire them. Pralinères sold to tourists and residents and helped pecan pralines become the official candy of New Orleans.

Pralines are not just a delicious treat, they have a really interesting history and helped a lot of women stay out of poverty. If you’d like to try a pecan praline for yourself, Natchitoches Pecans offers Louisiana pecans for sale. Our fresh pecans are ideal for making pralines. We also have delicious praline candies made with Louisiana pecans for sale. Give these regional pecan treats a try and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.

The Interesting History Of The Pecan Praline (2024)


The Interesting History Of The Pecan Praline? ›

The French settlers in Louisiana brought the praline tradition with them. African-American cooks working in the French colonists' kitchens transformed the sugared-almond praline. Because of their abundance, pecans replaced almonds and milk was added. The final product was a sweet, creamy patty filled with pecans.

What is the history of the pecan praline? ›

In 1727, the praline was introduced in New Orleans by French settlers. It was brought by Ursine nuns who helped young women prepare for marriage. As part of their training, the nuns taught these women to make pralines from scratch.

What is the history of chocolate praline? ›

The origin dates back to 1636, when Clement Lassagne, chef to César Gabriel de Choiseul, the French Comte du Plessis-Praslin, decided to dip almonds into boiling sugar. Lassagne named this creation after his master, Plessis-Praslin, which then became widely known as praline.

What is the history of pralines and cream? ›

In the 19th century French settlers brought a recipe to Louisiana, where both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful. New Orleans, emancipated black women substituted pecans for almonds, added cream to thicken the confection, and thus created what became known throughout the American South as the praline.

What is the origin of the word pralines? ›

praline (n.)

1727, prawlin, "confection made of almonds stirred into boiling sugar and water," from French praline (17c.), from the name of Marshal Duplessis-Praslin (1598-1675, pronounced "praline"), "whose cook invented this confection" [Klein]. Modern spelling in English from 1809.

What is an interesting fact about the praline? ›

Praline may have originally been inspired in France by the cook of Marshal du Plessis-Praslin (1602–1675), with the word praline deriving from the name Praslin. Early pralines were whole almonds individually coated in caramelized sugar, as opposed to dark nougat, where a sheet of caramelized sugar covers many nuts.

What are some fun facts about pralines? ›

In Louisiana, especially New Orleans, the name praline applies to candies made with pecans in a coating of brown sugar sold by Creole women known as pralinières. Even before the Civil War and Emancipation, pralines were an early entrepreneurial vehicle for free women of color in New Orleans.

Who invented pecan praline? ›

The actual creator of the praline is believed to be his personal chef, Clement Lassagne, but there are many versions of the story. Some versions have Lassagne getting the idea from children who were scavenging for scraps in the kitchens, nibbling on almonds and caramel leftover from one of his pastry creations.

Who started pralines? ›

Praliné, a type of creamy filling, is made from crushed almonds, hazelnuts or other nuts combined with boiled sugar, vanilla and cocoa (and sometimes cocoa butter), reminiscent of the original praline invented by Clement Lassagne in 1636.

Who is the founder of praline? ›

The allleged unofficial creator of the praline was Chef Clement Lassagne, the official cook to the Duke.

Does praline mean pecan? ›

A pecan is a type of nut while a praline is a type of candy that is made with sugar and nuts. While pecans are the most common type of nut used in pralines, almonds or hazelnuts will work too.

What does praline stand for? ›

pra·​line ˈprä-ˌlēn ˈprā- ˈprȯ- : a confection of nuts and sugar: such as. a. : almonds cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp.

What the heck is a praline? ›

praline, in French confectionery, a cooked mixture of sugar, nuts, and vanilla, often ground to a paste for use as a pastry or candy filling, analogous to marzipan; also, a sugar-coated almond or other nutmeat.

What's the difference between a pecan and a praline? ›

For one, pecan pralines are a patty-shaped candy made from pecans and several other ingredients, typically sugar, butter, and cream. Praline pecans, on the other hand, are individual pecan nuts with a praline-flavored coating.

What state is known for pralines? ›


New Orleans is famous for many things, including pralines. Our century old method has made our pralines the favorite in the Crescent City. Pralines have been traditional treats for many years, and we are proud to continue that tradition at New Orleans Famous Praline Company.

What are pecan pralines made of? ›

What is a Praline? The praline is a southern tradition, commonly made with sugar, corn syrup, milk, butter, and pecan halves. It's a confection with a history as rich as its flavor.

Where are praline pecans from? ›

Pralines originated in France, but the European version differs somewhat from the one in the United States. Namely, the original French confection featured almonds instead of pecans. When French settlers moved to the southern U.S., they found few almonds but plenty of pecan trees.

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