Praliné and gianduja: what are they, how are they different and how to use two basic pastry preparations in the kitchen

Praliné and gianduja: what are they, how are they different and how to use two basic pastry preparations in the kitchen

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Praliné and gianduja: what are they, how are they different and how to use two basic pastry preparations in the kitchen

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Praliné and gianduja: what are they, how are they different and how to use two basic preparations of cake shop

In pastry making and working with chocolate there are two basic elaborations that are used as an ingredient and also as a product in itself to compose desserts, chocolates, cakes, ice creams and all kinds of sweets: the praline and the gianduja. They are often confused with each other also because of the wide use of the terms in preparations which are not exactly canonical, but differentiating between the two is easy if we know the basic theory.

The most difficult thing is to establish a precise definition of the term praline or pralin , since its origin is not entirely clear and today it is applied to different elaborations in different languages. For example, in German das Praliné is simply a chocolate or truffle , while das / der Bonbon refers only to candies or gummies.

In Spain, perhaps we are more used to these words in their application in desserts and sweets of higher pastry, or industrial products of more supposedly gourmet cut such as filled chocolate bars and bonbons. In addition, the infinite range of various nougat with bizarre flavors that overwhelm us every Christmas are classified as “pralines”; They can be made of all the flavors and ingredients that a restless mind can imagine.

What is praline

According to the RAE, praline comes from the same French word and defines it as a simple “ chocolate and almond or hazelnut cream “, referring only to the most common and popular application in our country, the aforementioned ‘fake’ nougat and various sweets.

However, in professional pastry praline is something very different and does not have chocolate in its original form, and is conceived rather as a technique or basic preparation prior to preparing more complex elaborations.

A praline is a caramelised mixture made from crushing nuts with sugar caramel . Depending on the level of crushing, different degrees of praline are obtained with textures that go from a kind of granulated earth to a homogeneous cream. The praline cream is the most common formula and the one commonly used as an ingredient to combine with, for example, melted chocolate or ganache. It is a common filling for chocolates, desserts and nougats.

Its invention is usually attributed to Marshal Lassagne, an officer in the army of the Duc de Choiseul-Praslin (1589 – 1675), from whom the name would come. Originally it would only be whole caramelized almonds and covered with a sugar candy that could be flavored with various ways, something like what we know today as garrapiñadas.

Still today, especially in France, the term is used ) praline -without tilde- for distinguish between praline cream and caramelised whole nuts, the technique of which spread throughout Europe and United States from Louisiana through French settlers.

How to make the praline

The formula is very simple: weigh the the same amount of raw peeled nuts (almonds, hazelnuts … or mixture) than sugar and first prepare a caramel by heating it in a pan or casserole. Once ready, the nuts are added or the liquid caramel is poured over them, spread on greaseproof paper, allowing them to dry and solidify.

It is then split into large pieces and chopped or commenced in a mincer or food processor with sharp blades and powerful motor. This first coarse-grained mixture is called pralin , and it should be somewhat dry and earthy.

When crushing continues the oils are released from the fat of the dried fruit and a increasingly refined cream: the praline itself. Among its most common uses in pastry is mixing it with melted chocolate, then being a pralinoise .

Some authors prefer to make the caramel also using water to first prepare a syrup, but the most canonical basic recipe only requires nuts and sugar, always in equal parts by weight. Our recipe for homemade praline is even easier to use in desserts.

Gianduja, the Italian specialty that gave rise to Nutella

If the praline takes us to the French pastry, with the gianduja or gianduia We now travel to Italy . The popularity of Nutella – and its various controversial in the last years – have made us quite familiar with this chocolate base, although often gets confused with praline or pralinoise.

Indeed, Nutella is a cocoa cream derived from the gianduja , but they are not synonymous or equivalent to the same thing. The name comes from the traditional commedia dell’arte , referring to a of the archetypal masks representing Turin and Piedmont. The inventor of the gianduja cream named his creation in his honor.

Although, in principle, you can make gianduja with any dried fruit, its original formula is prepared with Piedmont hazelnuts , whose tradition and quality is recognized with the product guarantee with PGI by the European Union, and is the most valued for different elaborations such as ice cream and other sweets; the most appreciated variety is tonda gentile trilobata .

The gianduja is obtained by continuously crushing and grinding the hazelnuts until obtaining a very fine fat cream from the release of their oils, which is then mixed with chocolate cast. Although there are formulas that save steps mixing chocolate with praline, and more in domestic recipes, an authentic gianduja is not made from praline.

It was the Turinense chocolatier Michele Prochet who devised the gianduja when the continental blockade imposed by Napoleon on the Europe in the 19th century reduced the arrival of cocoa to Italy. Already in 1964, the chocolate producer Caffarel created, from this chocolate and hazelnut cream, one of the most famous sweets in northern Italy, the gianduiotto , with his iconic ingot shape , and that continue to occur today.

The ‘Supercrema’ was the immediate antecedent of Nutella, created from Ferrero’s ‘Giandujot’ cream.

In the middle of the 20th century, Pietro Ferrero sold his first block of the one baptized as Pasta gianduja , conceived as a semisolid paste to be spread and as a resource in the absence of supplies in postwar Europe. Shortly afterwards he would refine his work with the Supercrema gianduja , but it would be his son Michele Ferrero who would perfect the recipe in 1964 and would start selling it for across the continent, renaming it Nutella and creating a worldwide hit.

Our recipe for hazelnut cream and cocoa is a slightly healthier and simpler homemade proposal, and soon we will share how do gianduja -o gianduiotto – easily at home.

Photos | Unsplash – Département des Yvelines – Stone Soup – Kurman Communications – Kadluba – Marcho Verch –
Wikimmedia Commons – Ferrero

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